What’s in an image?

Hi, I am the lead internal designer here in CP, Bernard asked me to do a mini ditto for him while he is tied up (not literary).  The biggest thing we had on our design desk this week, was “What should we call this”, you know when you want to get a message across but the room all read the wrong message.

We had a design meeting where, through speed we made a fatal mistake.  We inadvertently added dummy non meaningful icons to the page.  Fatal, with a team of 5 developers working via conference calling and remote software, the test suite turned nasty.  The problem was when each spoke an instruction, the dummy icons were so generic yet removed from their desired purpose, that each developer kept initiating a different process…

Here is a test, once we even refined the icons we got to the following:

What is wrong

What is wrong






What do you think the second icon represents?   (answers on a postcard as they used to say), more on the answer later.  So the key to getting our team back on the page was of course to start how we should of, and that would be to have a definition session to set names as text first.

Here is the Lessons learnt:

  1. Always start with words, no matter how long.  craft the language so the audience get the inference right.
  2. work up a second story board with a choice of icons.
  3. Keep it universal

More and more systems are becoming icon driven and image led.  This is very powerful and great when it goes right but difficult for users to grasp if it is wrong.  So think first before setting your images and try to get at least the cultural grouping right so you can style several sheets for regional differences if needed.

So now for the icon answer……

The circular arrow means go up one level!!  Err no it doesn’t said our users and so you can see what I mean.   Needless to say it is no longer this icon in use.

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