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Re: Standard Icon Set

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2000 12:10:30 -0400
Message-Id: <200010091548.LAA1137924@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Alternate proposal:

** First, there should be a descriptive catalog of existing and proposed icon

This is a catalog of iconic representations, traced to uses (what the icon is
used to mean).

For each icon there is information as to its availability (and specific
of target-medium-specific source data, for example) in languages, OSes, etc.

For pairs of uses (either root icons or language/etc. -specific
sub-versions of
them) that have appreciable similarity of import or sense, there shall be a
compare/contrast analysis roughly articulating what is the same about what
mean, and what is different.  This, too, may be unbundled by speaker
groups, if
there are differences in interpretation in different communities where the
is used.

The point is that the signs may be thought of a taxonomic forest, but the
senses form a full 
Boolean algebra.

This catalog should be thought of as an exercise in field [descriptive]
linguistics.  No boiling down the choices based on our judgements.  Just the
facts.  People "out there in real life" who are interpreting these signs as
conveying senses; how are they interpreting them?

** Then, we can see what in this domain merits standardization.  Don't start
with the Sysiphean task of standardizing these things.  It will hold you back
from making a real contribution in documenting what is there in a way it
can be
more widely applied.  The raw data collection is a necessary precursor to
the standardization right, even where standardization is going to be
in the end.  

It is essential to realize that the crossover point to net positive return on
investment is reached before you have done any standardization, following
this development track.



Where there is a place for standard icons is for the meanings that are hard to
make obvious through verisimilitude, like abstract connective concepts
(intransitive verbs, conjunctions and prepositions).  These are things
where an
approach through long-term recall memorization will be necessary because the
WYSIWYG approach fails to cope.  But we need field data on what works today to
understand where to draw that line.

At 02:34 AM 2000-10-09 -0700, kynn@idyllmtn.com wrote:
>There should be a modality-independent, platform-independent,
>implementation-independent way to refer to standard iconic
>information.  This should be a work undertaken by the W3C and
>others interested parties.
>* Creation of a sufficiently large set of standard icon
>  types and at least 3 sets (of varying size) of those icons.
>  Each icon is identified by a "code name" as well as a translation
>  in the major languages.  E.g.:
>  Code       Translation (English) 
>  file       File                 
>  search     Search
>  www        The World Wide Web
>* The creation of an "icon:" pseudo-URI scheme similar to the
>  "about:" URIs found in many browsers.  This would enable the
>  following:
>  <a href="<http://kynn.com/search/>http://kynn.com/search/">
>    <img src="icon:search" alt="Search this site" />
>  </a>
>* Alternately (or in addition), extend XHTML entity sets to include
>  the icon sets (possibly via assigning them to unicode):
>  <a href="<http://kynn.com/search/>http://kynn.com/search/">
>    <span alt="&icon-search;">Search</span>
>    this site
>  </a> or
>  <a href="<http://google.com/>http://google.com/">
>    <span alt="&icon-search;">Search</span>
>    the
>    <span alt="&icon-www;">Web</span>
>  </a>
>* Possibly the following can work as well:
>  <a href="<http://kynn.com/search/>http://kynn.com/search/">
>    &icon-search; this site
>  </a> or
>  <a href="<http://google.com/>http://google.com/">&icon-search; the
>* Or when encountering the following:
>  <a href="<http://google.com/>http://google.com/">Search the Web</a>
>  ...n intelligent user agent or server processor could convert that
>  to iconic markup automatically.
>* Icon sets function as fonts in textual visual browsers, allowing the
>  user to select which icon set is desired -- e.g., one based on
>  size or contrast or colors or simplicity, or maybe just a general
>  style.  Users can install additional icon sets made by various
>  groups of people.
>If I have time I will propose something like this to the W3C,
>perhaps as part of the Device Independent activity which is being
>discussed.  Is anyone else interested in working on this?  Has anyone
>else done such a project already or any of the work toward it?
Received on Monday, 9 October 2000 11:47:41 UTC

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