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"Universal" icons Re: Accessible Development Methodologies

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2003 13:46:55 +0200
Cc: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
To: Matthew Smith <matt@kbc.net.au>
Message-Id: <B27DBE44-B9DE-11D7-8609-000A958826AA@sidar.org>

And I thought the best known icon was a stylised capital 'm' in gold, 
often on a red background, representing hamburgers that unfortunately 
aren't the ones I like.

This kind of project is about language - in this case visual languages 
used by many people (but not very powerful as languages for blind 
people to express themselves to each other...). And languages are 
organic, difficult to pin down, almost impossible to force usage (just 
ask the Academie Française, or the millions of speakers of Kabyl, 
Basque, Scots Gaelic, or other languages that have been made illegal 
with penalties as extreme as death).

I suspect a project by W3C in this area is doomed to failure - it needs 
specific expertise, and no project to create universal language has 
ever been known to succeed. (Teaching english to everyone has almost 
succeeded in Ireland, after several centuries where it was backed by 
extreme violence, but it hasn't been a great success in France yet. And 
the language of W3C - english as spoken in the USA - is not easily and 
unambiguously interpreted by most native english speakers in the world.)



On Saturday, Jul 19, 2003, at 03:12 Europe/Zurich, Matthew Smith wrote:

> David Woolley wrote:
>>>   3a) Set a challenge to student art groups to produce the icons
>>>   corresponding to menu functions that we require - possibly with a
>> Icons need to be consistent across all web sites, world wide.  I'd see
>> this more of a librarianship job (establishing best current practice) 
>> than
>> a creative job.
> I assume that David refers to production of symbols like the 
> disability wheelchair symbol, the information i, which are globally 
> recognisable.
> Is anyone aware of a project to do this, or could this be a possible 
> future project for the W3C?
Charles McCathieNevile                          Fundación Sidar
charles@sidar.org                                http://www.sidar.org
Received on Saturday, 19 July 2003 07:47:34 UTC

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