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Re: how to indicate symbols that metamorph?

From: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:27:08 +0100
Message-ID: <488B181C.9070208@david-woolley.me.uk>
To: www-svg <www-svg@w3.org>

Jonathan Chetwynd wrote:
> 1. html adopted underline and font colour to indicate links.

And, as soon as sufficient presentational control was made available, 
designers rejected this standardisation.  I think that was bad for 
consumers, but the designers love it.  For many years now, you've had to 
play hunt the link.
> What simple and general method could be agreed for SVG to indicate a 
> symbol that metamorphs?

You are treating SVG as though it were a non-verbal equivalent of HTML. 
  It's not.  It is a much lower level tool.  User interface conventiona 
can be built on top if it, but for designers working in marketing or 
entertainment, behaving the same as the competitor, or last year's 
model, is seen as something to avoid.  Where they do adhere to 
conventions, they will be much more subtle than the distinction between 
sunny and weather (and which is a problem for older people, not just 
those with learning disabilities).

Moreover, most people moving from HTML to SVG, for material with textual 
content will be doing so precisely because it removes the constraints on 
visual behaviour imposed by HTML.  (I don't think that is a good thing, 
but it seems inevitable.)

Such people want total control of the user interface (they will talk of 
the "user experience"), so, for example, whilst they may well want 
tooltips, they will want the tooltips to appear only where they want 
them to appear, not as a browser reaction to accessibility meta data.

Where people are creating technical drawings, rather than marketing 
material, they will use a technical drawing packages, probably one for s 
specific application area, e.g. schematic capture for electronics, 
rather than raw SVG tools.

What I think you want is a language, that works at a similar level of 
abstraction to HTML, but in terms of a language based on relative 
position and movement, in 2 dimensions of low abstraction images, rather 
than the static linear form of HTML and its typical use with high 
abstraction words.

You give me the impresssion that you have a problem in distinguishing 
such a language from SVG and in actually specifying the language in 
concrete form.  It's easy to talk about a language that uses icons, 
position and movement, but much more difficult to create and specify a 
good one.  It also requires skills that differ a lot from those involved 
in designing a low level graphics language.

My own view would be that it would be reasonable to discuss the need for 
such a language on the SVG list, because it may  be the case that people 
are using SVG when they would be better served by such a language, e.g. 
because SVG does offer too much freedom for bad design.  It is obviously 
legitimate to discuss any weakness in the ability of SVG to represent 
the graphics and animation from such a language.  However the details of 
such a language really needs its own discussion group, as it at a very 
different level of abstraction from SVG.

Once you have such a language, you will, of course, have to fight off 
the pressure to give it more and more control of visual rendering, until 
ti starts to compete with SVG.

David Woolley
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Received on Saturday, 26 July 2008 12:26:16 UTC

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