[LINK] Are GUI design standards no longer relevanr?

David Lochrin dlochrin at d2.net.au
Mon Jan 18 21:22:27 AEDT 2010

On Sunday 17 January 2010 15:01, grove at zeta.org.au wrote:
> In my Universe, if I see a monkey wrench icon, it means I have 
> to fix something, not configure it.    I don't suppose anyone reads 
> the OSF style guide for app design anymore?   Too many big words....

According to The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary a "monkey wrench" is a wrench with an adjustable jaw, but the usual icon is an outline spanner (with a fixed jaw).  Furthermore, many people who use computers might not have much familiarity with either wrenches or spanners, let alone their uses.  I'll bet the originator of this "icon" was a bloke!

This isn't entirely trivial because it demonstrates two things.  First, even simple images can be culture-specific and therefore ambiguous.  And second, the pictographs used as "icons" usually depict material objects such as spanners which do not relate in any definite way to abstract tasks.  Neither a spanner nor a wrench is commonly used to "configure" something.

Words are best.  This is why civilisation evolved written language from pictographs.

I will now dismount my hobby horse.


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