Flagoids: specific language UI buttons

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Kenneth Whistler

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Jan 22, 2009, 2:37:00 PM1/22/09
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Here's a current exhibit of why our emoji "flags"
should not be considered symbols of flags.

http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_010749_1325

Look down the righthand side of the page, to where
the "TRANSLATE" buttons are for 6 languages.

This is an example of changing localization practice,
where UI designers, bit by the perils of the practice
of using actual flag icons for this purpose, have
started to invent flagoids that *suggest* flags, but
aren't actual representations of flags.

There is no telling how widespread or standard this
kind of practice will become, but I think we will
be on the right track if we associate the 10
Japanese emoji symbols with this kind of language flagoids,
rather than with national flags per se.

--Ken

Markus Scherer

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Jan 22, 2009, 7:44:49 PM1/22/09
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On Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 11:37 AM, Kenneth Whistler <ke...@sybase.com> wrote:
Here's a current exhibit of why our emoji "flags"
should not be considered symbols of flags.

http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_010749_1325

Look down the righthand side of the page, to where
the "TRANSLATE" buttons are for 6 languages.

These are round instead rectangular, and their fly-over titles are language names, but they are still easily recognizable as flags, which is why they work as a UI (as far as flags work there at all). My guess is, the designer wanted them to be more cute, rather than trying to avoid the use of flags in the UI.

Our plan for now is to follow the UTC 2008-August guidance until the 2009-February meeting, and then hopefully we can come to some consensus there.

markus

Kenneth Whistler

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Jan 22, 2009, 8:12:06 PM1/22/09
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> These are round instead rectangular,

Yeah, I noticed. That was part of the point. These are
flagoids, not flags, and their use is to represent languages
by *association* with flags, rather than to represent flags
per se. Symbols used that way don't *have* to be rectangular
with aspects matching actual flags, because they aren't
trying to represent the *flags*.

> and their fly-over titles are language
> names, but they are still easily recognizable as flags,

No,... they are still easily recognizable as associated
with flags of particular countries.

> which is why they
> work as a UI (as far as flags work there at all). My guess is, the designer
> wanted them to be more cute, rather than trying to avoid the use of flags in
> the UI.

Well, we're both guessing, I guess. It might be that this
is a matter of political correctness. But it is equally
possible that in *this* case, given that this site is
for the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, that the site designer
decided to reshape the flag icons into little flag-draped
planet icons.

But my point is that as *symbols* these are in the same
class as the Japanese telco 10, and if so, then we have here
some evidence that such symbols don't need to be shaped
exactly like flag icons per se to convey their intent.

One interesting choice on the page: the doohickey for "Arabic"
uses a Jordanian flagoid.

> Our plan for now is to follow the UTC 2008-August guidance until the
> 2009-February meeting, and then hopefully we can come to some consensus
> there.

Well, I can't stop you guys from doing what you're going to do,
of course. But there was no "UTC 2008-August guidance" -- at
least nothing officially noted or minuted. All you had was
a bunch of opinions expressed without real consensus, just
like what is happening on this list right now.

--Ken

>
> markus

Markus Scherer

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Jan 22, 2009, 8:21:07 PM1/22/09
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On Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 5:12 PM, Kenneth Whistler <ke...@sybase.com> wrote:
Well, I can't stop you guys from doing what you're going to do,
of course. But there was no "UTC 2008-August guidance" -- at
least nothing officially noted or minuted. All you had was
a bunch of opinions expressed without real consensus, just
like what is happening on this list right now.

I don't know why it didn't make it into the minutes, but I am pretty sure that we had a firm outcome of that lengthy discussion. I wrote it in my paper notes as such...

markus

Mark Davis

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Jan 22, 2009, 8:25:26 PM1/22/09
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Mine as well. That doesn't mean that we can't change it -- it's just that we are reluctant to do so before the meeting instead of discussing it there and deciding.

Mark

Kenneth Whistler

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Jan 22, 2009, 8:47:38 PM1/22/09
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O.k., I just think y'all are mixing up what may well have
been majority opinion last August during the symbols subcommittee
discussion, with "UTC 2008-August guidance". That stuff never
got carried into the UTC proper, and there was no consensus
there. It would have been a whole lot more contentious if
it had started to turn into minuted UTC consensi.

One of the reasons I let it go in August was precisely because
the whole discussion of flags was just more jawing in the
subcommittee, with no more status than any of the rest of
the discussion in the symbols subcommittee email list, and
the symbols subcommittee wasn't (at that point) trying to
get official UTC positions on record, pending all the rest
of the work that still needed to be done on reconciling the
mappings, comparing with the ARIB set, coming up with a font,
and so forth.

I have notes, too. This definitely occurred during one
of the convenings of the symbols subcommittee (11 a.m.,
August 13, 2008, to be exact) -- not during
UTC plenary. And the consensus of that group that I noted
was only about the names as "FLAG SYMBOL JP", etc. I also
noted that there was "no consensus on *anything* else about
this set." For what it's worth today.

--Ken

Christopher Fynn

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Jan 23, 2009, 2:29:38 AM1/23/09
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Nice try but, even though they are circular, it is still clear that
these things you call "flagoids" represent emblems of individual
countries and are directly derived from national flags.

I have seen instances where a graphic made up of a diagonal half US
and diagonal half UK flag for "English" ~ similarly one might have a
half Portugese and half Brazilian flag for Portuguese language and
maybe half German half Austrian flag for German language, half France
and half Quebec flag for French language etc. This could work wherever
a language is identified with more than one country or territory - and
has the advantage of not using individual flags or emblems.

If a few individual flags or emblems were necessary - e.g. Japan flag
for Japanese language - as part of such a set it might be more
apparent they were being used to indicate language locale.

Of course you might run into objections if you tried to combine say a
PRC flag and a Taiwan flag for Chinese language, N and S Korean flags
for Korean, or India and Pakistan flags for
Urdu.

Perhaps better to encode these to look like the locale symbols used in
the Windows taskbar - white "EN" on a solid background for English,
"FR" on a solid background for French and so on. This would avoid the
emotions raised by flags and national symbols. Even though they looked
different from the flag symbols used on phones you would still have
interoperability.

- Chris

Michael Everson

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Jan 24, 2009, 5:58:52 AM1/24/09
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On 23 Jan 2009, at 07:29, Christopher Fynn wrote:

> Perhaps better to encode these to look like the locale symbols used
> in the Windows taskbar - white "EN" on a solid background for
> English, "FR" on a solid background for French and so on. This would
> avoid the emotions raised by flags and national symbols. Even though
> they looked different from the flag symbols used on phones you would
> still have interoperability.

And then you will have a request for "GA".

And then there is Wikimedia and their use of ISO 639.

Seems to me these 10 characters are clearly flags, and flags are logos.

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