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RE: International Internet Icons

From: Martin Brunecky <mbrunecky@onerealm.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 08:37:11 -0600
Message-ID: <235F239718A5D411B5E20090277399360A6278@onerealmserver.onerealm.com>
To: www-international@w3.org

 -----Original Message-----
From: 	Frank_Cutitta@idg.com [mailto:Frank_Cutitta@idg.com] 
Sent:	Monday, April 02, 2001 6:01 PM
To:	www-international@w3.org
Subject:	RE: International Internet Icons

Guy writes

 >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

So what is Internet Explorer and Netscape using for the symbol for Home Page
around the world on their top tool bar ?

My experience has been that the house symbol has been
an internationally acceptable iconic convention despite the variations in
form factor of houses or apartments/flats worldwide.

No so ?

I would say that this symbol (and many other) have been forced upon the rest
of the world, handicapping those users by making them associate some strange
drawing with the function. Pretty much like you can learn to read the
Chinese ideograph for a 'fish'. Just imagine that your browser's toolbar
used Chinese ideographs instead of icons. Given couple years, you would
learn to use them.

It is all about the money. Producers did not feel compelled to spend money
on localization, because the 'foreign' user had no other choice than ... to
learn "American". So many "Americanisms" made its way into other countries,
making it even more justified to save money on localization.

Europeans went a long way trying to standardize 'icons' (signs) used in
airports and other public places, in order to bridge the language barriers.
It does seem to work for (some of?) THEM. It often does not work for ME,
because I do not travel to Europe that often, and many of those standard
icons just confuse me. I have to seek help. And when I land in Frankfurt, I
would feel much better IF many of those !@#$ symbols were accompanied by a
German wording (though, I admit this would be a long text). 

Martin Brunecky.

Frank Cutitta
Senior Vice President
International Data Group (IDG)
Received on Tuesday, 3 April 2001 10:37:46 UTC

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