[ubuntu-art] Bad visual metaphors
burtonbe at cox.net
Thu Mar 1 22:59:45 GMT 2007
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Alex Jones wrote:
> 1. "Save." Nobody uses floppy disks anymore! We need an updated
> metaphor, even if it's just some stupid abstract symbol that
> doesn't really represent something in the real world - as long
> as one can grow to associate it consistently with committing
> something semi-permanently to disk, that's OK in my book!
Check out the Tango icon for saving a document:
I use the default Tango theme, but ironically I hate that save icon. I
guess I've just gotten so used to associating a floppy disk with "save"
that the "arrow to disk" just doesn't click for me. :-P
> 2. "Computer". Generally, this visual metaphor is dominated by a
> big honking great widescreen LCD monitor. This would be a much
> better metaphor for a display! How about an icon of an actual
> computer, sans-keyboard and display?
The only problem with this is that the icon would be yet another
box/cube. People could be easily confused if it was not done properly.
Is it just me, or does "keyboard/monitor" not instantly associate with
> 3. "Network"/"Internet". Even worse, two computer displays with
> really oldskool looking pipes connecting them! As with the save
> one, this is a commonly re-used concept, i.e. it is incorporated
> into many other icons - music shares, remote administration, web
> browser, NetworkManager applet, etc. I do think that the
> "Internet" icon, with the globe and some noticable flashing
> lines going across it is a brilliant idea, and it's a shame it's
> not re-used anywhere I can tell. For example, a better HTML
> document icon could be a page with this globe superimposed on it
> like an emblem. A better Web Browser icon could be this globe
> with a page superimposed on it, again like an emblem. I guess
> these two ideas are the reciprocal of each other. :)
What do you think about those? Are they in the ballpark?
> 4. Cut/Copy/Paste. We just nicked these off everyone else, and I'm
> not convinced they're particularly intuitive (neither in name
> nor in visuals), but that could be somewhat controversial.
What change do you propose?
I like your ideas, but some things are just so ingrained from years of
using computers and their associated bad metaphors that change is
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