Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bad icons and good communication

For Christmas I received an item that came in a carrying case with this little tag inside.

What in the world are these little icons trying to tell me? I don't have the smallest clue.

And that brings me to the question - what are some things that you assume that others know when you're giving a message that they may not understand? Often we can be blind to the bad icons we are putting out there. So it's worth asking others if that "icon" we made communicates what we intended it to. The best "others" to ask might be those outside of our working realm.

10 comments:

Marti said...

Is it, 'don't put this in the washer or dryer'?

One place where not knowing what the symbols mean is particularly dangerous is driving in a country that's not your own. And in our country, those symbols are nearly always words. Can you imagine driving, or navigating a train station or airport, in this country, if you could not read English?

Anonymous said...

the triangle means do not dry clean and the other one do not tumble dry... I think I learned this when I lived alone for 6+ years (before I met any Merrills) and did my own washing, and drying...
so you'll have to get that item wet if you want it clean and let it hang if you want it dry again.

Anonymous said...

hope you understand why I'd rather stay anonymous...

A. Non - Imus

Paul Merrill said...

Not sure who you are, anyon. - but that's OK.

And thanks for the interpretation.

tomchamberlain said...

Once you get used to looking at "symbols" they are indeed second nature. Laundry symbols are the MOST confusing thing on the planet, "next to New Yorkers that is"

iamdavelilly said...

I was going to guess, "This(the triangular icon) won't protect you from Egyptian tomb robbers or zombie mummies". But I was wrong. so maybe it will!

and the tumble dryer is relatively clear(compared to it's triangular counterpart). See http://sumaria.co.in/images/Maxi-dryer.jpg This icon could use two dots at the top to clarify abit more.

DRYCLEANER?? What was that guy/al thinking??! :-) I can't get over that.

Paul Merrill said...

Thanks for the further interpretation, Dave!

Rich said...

I'm so proud of myself; I got it right. The triangle with the X means no bleach. I'm guessing that bleach is harmful to tomb mummies.

One that intrigues me is a plain rectangle with an X through it, without the circle. That means "Do not dry". Not just "Do not tumble dry" but more like "Do not dry by any means". Apparently an item marked in this way is meant to stay wet indefinitely.

Anonymous said...

nice to see so many comments on these 2 little icons,....
Anchin.

Scrapnqueen said...

Laundry symbols are in practically everything cloth--but many of the tags are also "dummy-proof" with written-out instructions, as well. The symbols are used more for quick reference. This would be for the person who actually does the laundry all the time, and is used to reading them.

Written instructions are still good, though.