Visual Indicators

"Information-sensitive designs are exacting and laborius, requiring a deep appreciation of the particular content at hand. More generic approaches to interface design are widespread ... Too many interfaces for information compilations have suffered from television-disease: thin substance, contempt for the audience and the content, short attention span, and over-produced styling."
-Edward Tufte

Just as with printed material, the visual arrangement of content is very important. While traditional publishing has had hundreds of years to fine tune what works on the printed page, New Media (such as the web) is just that – new. But not entirely new. We can apply some of the same concepts and techniques found in older media. Beyond the organizational and navigational issues raised elsewhere, there are creative approaches and techniques that allow for greater integration of form and content.

Picturing various scenarios, where this user might expect this while that one would look for that, helps at a structural level. Developing a metaphor can be good for the same reason. But it should probably be thought of, if implemented, as being applied to a sub-site, at most, in lieu of continuing developments site-wide.

Even the development of "universal" icons can be tricky. Some things to watch out for, as pointed out in Image and Representation, basically come down to problems of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Some of these are:

This site has tried to demonstrate the concepts of the given research. This being a low-traffic site – i.e., non-corporate nor a portal – I chose to go with a moderate use of graphic imagery as the intent towards showing graphic ability is one of the aims here. Other issues involving optimum graphic implementations and specific programming features are also found herein.

More can be found on information and interaction design from these sites: