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Something to think about... / blog
It's Time to Change that Metaphor

Written by on April 6, 2008

Icons has allowed interaction designers to create a friendly face for otherwise complex things - like saving a document, email text, backing up your hard disk etc. But then the world changed, and today, none of the traditional icons makes any sense whatsoever.

The save icon, in the form of a floppy disk, is a particular good example. The young generation see it in the same light as the punch-card (assuming that they even know what a floppy disk is) it is also a completely useless way to store your files.

Most files no longer fit it and I would personally need close to one million floppy disk to backup my hard disks.

It is not much better to use a letter to indicate email. Only the old generation still uses paper to send out messages. The young generation never sends out a letter. The only reason young people go to the post office is when they want to send a package. The last time I sent a paper based letter was almost 4 years ago (and that was because I had to send a DVD).

So take a good look at the icons you use and change them before you start to look like an old geezer :)

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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