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28 January, 2011

Privacy Icons : Preamble

Let's take a look at Aza's privacy icons' alpha release first. Aza sure made it clear about the curves & corners to consider about; but for the icons, I don't really think he gave his best effort. (Although, I sense conspiracy that he intentionally underperformed so that people can catch up to it, find bugs & get involved;)

I find the following problems:
  1. Not usable under 64x64 resolution.
  2. Too many graphical sprites to get used to.
  3. Using color-outline with black-content... meh!
  4. For being more cognition friendly, it uses redundant representation of similar notions (graphic bar && red-color, to negate).
  5. Not quite simple.
  6. Too many icons to understand one site's privacy policy.
  7. You can't just look at 'em an understand - you have to be through (But I have ADHD AADD!).
  8. On the websites, how exactly are we going to put all these icons, eh!?!

So, let's simplify things a bit. I'd prefer a single-icon to start up with - in case I fail, we already have plan B. There's a reason behind the single-icon approach: multi-icon representation produces significantly more cognitive load for the user to parse the icons' information one by one & then decide - but all they actually want, is- just to look at it and feel safe/unsafe.

While making the icon, I've particularly kept some factors in mind. Although I don't propose them to be guidelines; it's just, we will have them as specifications for this discussion. Those are-
  1. It has to be monochrome (or monochrome-possible).
  2. It has to be simple, yet informative enough - although we are aiming for very subtle-period working memory, still will try not to make an information-overload to the viewer.
  3. It has to be page design-neutral, to be used by all types of organizations alike, and also to restrict modification (which can also be misused to cheat the system).
  4. It has to be low-resolution feasible with as less modification as possible (none, the better).
  5. The Icon is better to resemble with the existing copyright (& creative-commons) icon, to be seamlessly integrated in the web, without seeming to be an alien logo- accidentally dropped out of nowhere.
  6. Unlike the creative-commons icons having many modes, the privacy icon has many parameters - they are different.
  7. Each of the elements in the icon can be used to indicate the different parameters, but it has to synchronize well with the iconic implementation to mean it.
  8. By now, I'll stop sounding like any of those ultra-formal privacy policy texts & will try my best so that none of you require a dictionary.
The 7th point is important, because that's how I'm going top-down to create the icon, please join me.

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