[Phpwm] Icons

Paul Matthews paul.matthews.86 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 13 09:59:34 GMT 2007

On 3/12/07, Darren Beale <public.darren.beale at siftware.co.uk> wrote:
> > Just wondered what other people do for this sort of thing - Keep it a
> > bit utilitarian but highly functional or prettify it and slow it all
> down
> a
> > bit?
> Slowing it down is a red herring; bandwidth is cheap.
> Whilst I am most certainly not an information or interface designer as a
> blanket summation I'd say that where I've seen icons for menu items then
> the
> first few - at best - work well and then after that it seems that the rest
> have been shoe-horned to fit something that only the developer could see
> made any sense.
> The worst case of something like this is the *spit* php-nuke type summary
> admin screen with a bucket load of icons which apparently mean something,
> but only if you sit down and try to figure it out; it's like icon soup.
> I take the tool tip 'title' point, but still it makes me think and when
> using the interface that's bad.
> As Rob says, text all the way. The good designers I've worked with use
> graphical elements elsewhere; menu items are descriptive and don't use
> arbitrary images. Where images are used in the interface (e.g. a trashcan
> for delete, an arrow for next) then it is blatantly obvious what their
> purpose is.
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I hate to put a stopper on this conversation as it's going so well, but
surely this conversation has been had by far more qualified (in that area)
people than ourselves.
Perhaps taking a look on something like http://alistapart.com/ or something
similar would answer all your questions?

To add my 10 pence worth:
I've been reading a book called "The ZEN of CSS
(not that I've finished it yet, mind), their attitude being something along
the lines of:
Use the images in the menu as a form of bullet point, not intrusive but
complementary to the words describing the links. Admittedly the Css Zen
Garden book is specifically aimed at eye catching site, not so much
functional sites, but perhaps there is something to learn from them still.
Personally I use the http://csszengarden.com sites as prototypes for ideas
that can perhaps be brought into my work.

>From Paul.

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