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The Iconish language

Do you speak iconish? I don't, and it lead me into a bit of a problem yesterday. Checking in to the site I'm training on, I was directed to fill my details in on a touch screen. Clever system - I poked at the Union Jack and up came a page with a keyboard diaplayed and I was asked for my last name ... duly entered on the keyboard on the touch screen, and my full details and internal contact are displayed.

Great. But what next?

"Err - what do I do now" I ask across to the security guy. "Has it printed a badge for you?" he asks. No, it hadn't. And he goes to the manual system of hand writing a visitors badge ... he's about to call my contact when my contact arrives; it seems that the system has emailed him to say I've arrived - very clever but I would have appreciated that feedback!

So what's all this about Iconish? Same procedure this morning ... except that when I got stuck, an employee who I happened to know came over and suggested that I press a little picture which (in hindsight) looked rather like a badge. And - magically - the system advanced to a further screen that asked me to agree to a nondisclosure agreement. Duly done, and an "E" icon let me select to send myself a copy of that agreement. I'm starting to learn Iconish, I think.

For a location where the same visitors come back time and again, I've no doubt the system is great. For a first timer, it lacks instructional feedback; I usually think of myself as being reasonably bright but until one or two things were pointed out by a human I couldn't work it. A great objective lesson for designers, especially, of web sites where newcomers will simply walk away if they can't work out how to use the site.

(written 2005-04-19, updated 2006-06-05)

 
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Natural or man-made?
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or
Horse's mouth home
Forward to
What career opportunities for web designers
Some other Articles
Checking that all our servers are up and accessible
Automating regular manual procedures
What career opportunities for web designers
The Iconish language
Natural or man-made?
Short weekend
What they are saying about our OF COURSE newsletter
Spotted - the local MP
Getting a list of unique values from a MySQL column
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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