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From: David Abrahams (dave_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-11-20 08:44:50

Rene Rivera <grafik.list_at_[hidden]> writes:

>> make the text for them
>> run right next to their icons and much bigger (took me more than a
>> quick glance to find my way to the text).
> Well this is where I'll likely put my design foot down :-) Icons serve
> the purpose of stand ins for a corresponding text. In this case the
> icons are stand ins for the headings. Icons loose their effectiveness
> if you have the equivalent text near it.

This is the problem: unless the icons are already universally
recognized symbols (like the red circle with the slash through it),
they are made for people who already know what they're looking at. If
you make the text small and far away it penalizes new visitors at the
expense of people who already know their way around. And for myself,
though a deeply visual person, I'm likely to forget the meanings of
some of your icons easily even after many visits. I usually hate
icons in toolbars -- they often waste screen real-estate and add
clutter, and they seldom tell me what they mean in an obvious way --
so I usually turn them off.

So please keep in mind that web UIs have to serve a broad spectrum of
users, not all of whose brains work the way yours does.

> This is the stand in usefulness not the visual interest usefulness,
> although it also looses some of that because of the distraction that
> the text becomes.

I like your icons as design elements, but if forced to choose, it's
the icons I find to be a distraction, not the text.

Dave Abrahams
Boost Consulting

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