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Re: accessibility & icon use

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 18:52:36 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200405051752.i45HqaG09751@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> Is there any development of a global standard for meanings of icons / 
> pictograms so that meanings become standard like text?

Unicode is about the only place for this, and is where any open standard
should get reflected.  There are various "dingbat" and other pictorial 
icons in Unicode.  There are also 10,000s of CJK icons, but these have
become very abstracted (you could also say that the floppy disk icon for
save is becoming a pure abstraction, because people don't use floppy
disks any longer).  A new iconic language ought to be considered as valid
as Chinese (and risks becoming as complex).

Representation of non-concrete objects is likely to very difficult to
achieve because they will have to be represented indirectly and those
representations are likely to be subject to cultural considerations
(e.g. black for mourning is wrong in South Asia, where the mourning 
colour is white).

In reality, in user interface design, apart from a few de facto standards,
the remaining icons get invented by the designers, and may reflect an
imagery theme for the product that has no relation to what the product
actually does.  They are normally there for frequent users.  Occasional
users typically have to hover the icon to find out what it means from the
tool-tip.
Received on Wednesday, 5 May 2004 18:05:03 UTC

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