any ideas for icon research?

25 Jun 2008 - 12:12pm
6 years ago
7 replies
712 reads
Jim Reed
2008

I need to prepare a strategy document for a large financial client
that explores appropriate visual metaphors for "paperless billing" or
"e-statements" in a global context. I will include a competitive icon
audit, but I'm not finding a lot of icons for paperless billing. The
biggest challenge for me is the global context. I can easily suggest
an appropriate metaphor for Norhern Californians, but how can I
research which visual metaphors might work for people in Italy,
Britain, Canada and so on? Any ideas?

Comments

25 Jun 2008 - 12:31pm
Chauncey Wilson
2007

I would recommend that you conduct a metaphor brainstorming session on
your topic and then list the criteria that are important and narrow
the list down. When you do the metaphor brainstorming, you'll come up
with ideas that you can use when you work with a visual designer. The
other things you can do is have some in-person or online braindrawing
sessions. I would be happy to share a bit more about these techniques
offline if you are interested or post a few more details.

Thanks,
Chauncey

On Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 2:12 PM, Jim Reed <jim at tractionco.com> wrote:
> I need to prepare a strategy document for a large financial client that
> explores appropriate visual metaphors for "paperless billing" or
> "e-statements" in a global context. I will include a competitive icon audit,
> but I'm not finding a lot of icons for paperless billing. The biggest
> challenge for me is the global context. I can easily suggest an appropriate
> metaphor for Norhern Californians, but how can I research which visual
> metaphors might work for people in Italy, Britain, Canada and so on? Any
> ideas?
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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>

25 Jun 2008 - 1:53pm
Vytas Gaizutis
2008

No need to re-invent the wheel. The best icons tend to be very simple. Before you get too far, I suggest these two books. One is about icon design by William Horton and the other is global interface design by Tony Fernandes. Though written in the 90's, these are both still very valid with regard to keeping metaphors simple and workable cross-culturally.

http://www.amazon.com/Icon-Book-Symbols-Computer-Documentation/dp/047159...

http://www.amazon.com/Global-Interface-Design-Tony-Fernandes/dp/0122537904

For example, never use a hand unless it's involved in some sort of action, such as holding a pen. Some hand gesture is offensive in some culture even though it's positive elsewhere. Number and color are also minefields. And some metaphors simply do not translate well across cultures (example: mailboxes).

In addition, shape and color mean a lot. The best icons can be easily differentiated at a glance. There are firms out there that create very slick icons. The eye candy is awesome. However, you should focus on perception and cognition first.

Here's a very good article about visual perception and icons on Boxes and Arrows:

http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/icon_analysis

It all begins with raw visual perception and cognition, then there's the cultural overlay.

Hope this helps.

25 Jun 2008 - 1:41pm
Steve Schang
2008

Maybe approach the icon creation from how people view their paper
statements. Just create a statement icon. Why differentiate paper versus
online? Do people really make a distinction between a paper statement and
an online statement? Isn't an online statement just a digital version of
the paper statement?

Steve Schang
Interactive Design Group | eCommerce | Wachovia Corporation
704.715.3845
Usability | iRise | TrendsCast Blog

Jim Reed <jim at tractionco.com>
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06/25/2008 02:12 PM

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Subject
[IxDA Discuss] any ideas for icon research?

I need to prepare a strategy document for a large financial client
that explores appropriate visual metaphors for "paperless billing" or
"e-statements" in a global context. I will include a competitive icon
audit, but I'm not finding a lot of icons for paperless billing. The
biggest challenge for me is the global context. I can easily suggest
an appropriate metaphor for Norhern Californians, but how can I
research which visual metaphors might work for people in Italy,
Britain, Canada and so on? Any ideas?
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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25 Jun 2008 - 12:44pm
Scott Green
2007

Sorry..but I can't resist this one. As a former Northern Californian, I
could imagine an icon that depicts an "Earth First" fanatic camping out
high atop an old growth redwood tree to protest cutting said tree down
for paper to be used for commerce such as paper statements.

Things sure are different down here in Georgia!

25 Jun 2008 - 11:46pm
sreeramen ramaswamy
2008

Some research available from International standards organizations (ISO):
http://www.iso.org/iso/search.htm?qt=icons&searchSubmit=Search&sort=rel&type=simple&published=on

another article on icons:
http://www.translate.com/technology/multilingual_standard/symbols_and_icons.html

thanks,
Ram

On Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 11:42 PM, Jim Reed <jim at tractionco.com> wrote:

> I need to prepare a strategy document for a large financial client that
> explores appropriate visual metaphors for "paperless billing" or
> "e-statements" in a global context. I will include a competitive icon audit,
> but I'm not finding a lot of icons for paperless billing. The biggest
> challenge for me is the global context. I can easily suggest an appropriate
> metaphor for Norhern Californians, but how can I research which visual
> metaphors might work for people in Italy, Britain, Canada and so on? Any
> ideas?
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

25 Jun 2008 - 11:35pm
sreeramen ramaswamy
2008

hi Jim,
the parameters with which you can evaluate your icon are graphical
concreteness, functional appropriateness, and its cross cultural sensitivity
(colors, understanding, and so on). There is a lot of work on cross cultural
design, and symbols. check out the following on icons from Oracle
corporation.

http://www.oracle.com/technology/tech/blaf/specs/icons.html

you must also be able to find some material in icons in LISA and ACMSIGCHI.
Just a Google search brought up a white paper. You can probably request it
from here as well.

http://www.translate.com/technology/multilingual_standard/symbols_icons_white_paper_request.html

Usually with all icons there is a learning associated with it. thsts where
the practice of icon + label came in picture. Once this learning happens
instant pattern recognition happens. This is what human are good at.
Maintaining consistency is important and the lesser the number it is better.
Hope it helps.

thanks,
Ram

On Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 11:42 PM, Jim Reed <jim at tractionco.com> wrote:

> I need to prepare a strategy document for a large financial client that
> explores appropriate visual metaphors for "paperless billing" or
> "e-statements" in a global context. I will include a competitive icon audit,
> but I'm not finding a lot of icons for paperless billing. The biggest
> challenge for me is the global context. I can easily suggest an appropriate
> metaphor for Norhern Californians, but how can I research which visual
> metaphors might work for people in Italy, Britain, Canada and so on? Any
> ideas?
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

13 Aug 2008 - 8:14am
pyces
2007

I agree with Steve. Use the paper statement metaphor that already exists
rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. I would guess that Italians,
Canadians, and everyone else in the developed nations have at one point
received paper statements in the mail, thus I would think that the paper
icon would be universal. But if you have access to your audiences, test
some different icons out and see how each culture reacts to each icon,
what they expect when clicking it, when seeing it on something...

Courtney

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
steve.schang at wachovia.com
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 3:42 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] any ideas for icon research?

Maybe approach the icon creation from how people view their paper
statements. Just create a statement icon. Why differentiate paper versus

online? Do people really make a distinction between a paper statement
and
an online statement? Isn't an online statement just a digital version of

the paper statement?

original msg:
I'm not finding a lot of icons for paperless billing.

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