I agree that finding an icon that universally means "language" is a hard
I thought about using different approaches and all can be misinterpreted:
- World globe
- Bubble speech
- A neutral flag (e.g.,
- Sticky figure (e.g.,
The good part is that by complementing the icon with the current language
name, the user can get a better idea.
The use of scripts to convey language is what Google Translate did with
The problem is that including several scripts will require to much detail
for an icon. I tried to make a simplified version based on yours but trying
to emphasize the idea of selection:
[image: Inline image 1]
On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 10:33 PM, Brandon Harris <bharris(a)wikimedia.org>wrote;wrote:
We had a conversation the other day about how the concept of an icon that
says "change language" was a . . . formidable . . . design challenge. I
mentioned that I'd brought this up to the Design Guild a few months back,
and we spent several hours talking about it.
They had some far-out concepts. But the end boiled down to something like
Obviously, this is something I threw together in about 20 minutes. I
pulled glyphs from the WP logo for it; the proportions are way off, and i
don't know that it's going to work below 32 pixels.
Here's the thinking:
Indicating *languages* is next to impossible.
Indicating *scripts* is less so.
People will be more likely to recognize foreign scripts than foreign
language names (e.g., if you don't speak a Latin script, "English",
"Deutsch", and "Italiano" are going to look the same to you).
Opposition research showed that most of the more intelligent switchers
depend on script-recognition than actual word recognition.
Thoughts? I'm eager to think about this because I'm working on the
"Wikipedia 2015" designs, and it's important to have a handle on this for
Brandon Harris, Senior Designer, Wikimedia Foundation
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