W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-international@w3.org > April to June 2001

RE: International Internet Icons

From: Lacoursiere, Guy <Guy.Lacoursiere@Cognos.COM>
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 10:25:03 -0400
Message-ID: <032CF340440DD2118C0700805F85882663D7F2@sota0201.cognos.com>
To: "'Tex Texin'" <texin@progress.com>, Richard Francois M <Francois.M.Richard@usa.xerox.com>
Cc: "'paul.a.brandt@us.pwcglobal.com'" <paul.a.brandt@us.pwcglobal.com>, www-international@w3.org
The symbol of the home icon (the house icon, as I call it) is totally
obscure to non-English users.  To a French, German or Japanese user, what
does a house have to do with the concept of "returning to the initial page"?

In Internet Explorer, the French translation of Home is "Démarrage" (Start);
in German, it is "Startseite" (Start page); in Japanese, it is, well, it is
three kanas that read something like "homu".  The house picture has
absolutely no meaning in these languages, let alone the fact that it looks
nothing like a French, German or Japanese house.

Yes, through exposure, people know what it means, but there is no mnemonics
behind it. It's just an image of something.  

On terminology, the fact that "many computer related words become [...] part
of other languages" does not make them international.  The word "computer"
is probably understood by most people who have one.  You still wouldn't want
to use it in a proper French or Spanish user interface.

An icon must not illustrate a play on words in any given language. The
"house" icon is no different.

Guy Lacoursière
Cognos Incorporated
Software Globalisation Consultant
-----Message d'origine-----
De: Tex Texin [mailto:texin@progress.com]
Date: domenica 1 aprile 2001 18:15
À: Richard Francois M
Cc: 'paul.a.brandt@us.pwcglobal.com'; www-international@w3.org
Objet: Re: International Internet Icons

OK, I'll have to go back to my copy. I thought pictures of houses was
pointed out as not appropriate in his book.

The "however", that goes with this, is that some icons have been used
so much in software, that even though they were not international to
begin with, they become international thru exposure. Just as many
computer related words become international and a part of other
languages' lexicons.

The "however" that goes with the first "however" is that as new
regional markets become computer literate, they have to learn these
"foreign" symbols from scratch.


"Richard, Francois M" wrote:
> Yes,
> It is the book by Horton. It does not look like a "home" to me neither,
> I recognize the icon and interpret it.
> Francois
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Tex Texin [mailto:texin@progress.com]
> > Sent: Friday, March 30, 2001 9:05 PM
> > To: Richard Francois M
> > Cc: 'paul.a.brandt@us.pwcglobal.com'; www-international@w3.org
> > Subject: Re: International Internet Icons
> >
> >
> > Except, in many parts of the world that icon does not look like
> > a typical house or a home. So in what way is that icon international?
> > 
> > Is this the book by Horton?
> > tex
> >
> > "Richard, Francois M" wrote:
> > >
> > > There is a set of international icons from the "icon book".
> > > Attached is the "home" icon, as an example.
> > >
> > > Francois
> > >
Received on Monday, 2 April 2001 10:25:10 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Wednesday, 21 September 2016 22:37:20 UTC