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Re: accessibility & icon use

From: ATutor <info@atutor.ca>
Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 09:10:42 -0400
Message-ID: <4098E7D2.6090207@atutor.ca>
To: David Harris <david.harris@tcat.ac.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Choosing standardized icons was one of the issues we faced when building 
ATutor.  Though we found a few that seem relatively standard, such as a 
house for a home icon, and a magnifying glass for a search tool, many of 
the icons we used were picked because there was no better choice. One 
thing to keep in mind is that users learn to make the association 
between icons and the tools they represent relatively quick,despite the 
lack of standardization for these visual representations outside the 
application. While I think a small set of icons can be standardized, in 
a complex application like ATutor, there are many tools that will not be 
found on most sites, so representing them graphically in a standard way 
would be difficult. How to represent a course enrollment utility for 

ATutor was built for the primary purpose of accomodating students with 
learning difficulties. It uses a variety of strategies for presenting 
the interface as well as structuring the content. It's also fully 
accessible, and free.

There's a demo and a download at:


David Harris wrote:

> I'm looking at making accessible an educational website for an FE 
> college and while looking at inclusiveness of people with learning 
> difficulties, Something struck me. I think, maybe a potential 
> standardisation missing which may help many people.
> What I'm interested in is the use of icons on web pages as the main 
> meaning representation for links (see  Jonathan Chetwynd's web site at 
> http://www.peepo.com for example).
> Is there any development of a global standard for meanings of icons / 
> pictograms so that meanings become standard like text?
> I ask this because the constant replies I get, is to work with 
> students to invent our own - this is reasonable for our Intranet where 
> support is easily given but potential future students (our web sites 
> target audience) may not perceive them with the same meaning, which 
> could cause confusion.
> These could be developed in the same way different people require (and 
> can choose) use of different fonts (for languages / families locales). 
> They could also be defined WAI?
> I'd be interested to hear comments on this.
> Dave Harris
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Received on Wednesday, 5 May 2004 09:09:53 UTC

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