Iconic communication

A set of papers on icons and their use in communication.

    The popularity of the WIMP interface opens up real possibilities for developing new forms of human communication based around images rather than text. The success of such systems will depend upon our ability to embed them in existing social practices at the same time as identifying and exploiting what is novel and useful in the computer. The use of pictures and gestures to convey our ideas is a basic form of communication that two people frequently resort to when they find they share no common language. This is illustrated equally well by the signs I make to a person when I do not know the local language and want to find somewhere to eat, as by the pictorial signs that we find in international airports. Locate this basic ability within the novel features offered by the WIMP interface and it is possible to imagine a new medium in which computer processes are more easily accessible and communication between human beings is simplified.

Culled from SIG-IA