Icons and Technology

I recently did a lunch and learn presentation to my co-workers on the subject of iconography and, after the excessive ragging I got last time for not recording a presentation, I caught it on Silverback. I’ve included a copy of the powerpoint and the quotes which I used below.

One note – I did realize in going back over my notes that the article is not “Realism in UX Design” but “Realism in UI Design” from UX Magazine. This has been corrected in the Powerpoint version.

Iconography Powerpoint

“Noobs in the digital space don’t understand things holistically. They barely understand the basics. They lack any cognitive surplus to provide themselves with an overview of the environment they interact with.”
Thomas Peterson, “Anatomy of a Noob

“It’s pretty rare in the real world that we rely on iconography alone to represent ideas. Bathroom doors generally have an icon of a man and the word “Men.” Stop signs have the word “Stop” on them.”
Jensen Harris, “The Importance of Labels

“Part of the user experience effort around Outlook 98 was improving the menu and toolbar structure. One of the problems noticed again and again among non-expert users was that people didn’t use the toolbar at all! …In the end, one change caused a total turnaround: labeling the important toolbar buttons. Almost immediately, the toolbars were a big hit and everyone at all skill levels starting using them.”
Jensen Harris, “The Importance of Labels”

“Web iconography instantly denotes certain site elements… it’s important to appeal to the viewer’s sense of familiarity here. A custom set of icons has a certain cachet, but if your ideogram is too obscure, it will fail to communicate the desired message.”
Jessica Neuman Beck, “Does Your Copy Hold Up To A Quick Glance?

“Ever notice how many iPhone icons use analog objects? Phone, envelope, etc. We are wedded to the comforts of familiar objects.”
“Yet how many kids growing up these days will know why an icon for a phone is shaped like that?”
Brenden Dawes tweets, “Iconography: Where are we headed?

“Images are the main content of our thoughts regardless of the sensory modality in which they are generated and regardless of whether they are about a thing or a process involving things or about words or other symbols.”
Antonio Damasio

Also referenced are these articles and books-

Realism in UI Design
The Humane Interface
Designing Web Navigation


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