Browse Prior Art Database

New Icons for People with Special Needs

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000110502D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-25
Document File: 4 page(s) / 157K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Appino, PA: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

This article describes a set of new icons, icons which may be of value to people with special needs. The on/off switch, dimmer switch, and warning bell icons are operators which can act upon target icons which represent physical entities. The on/off switch and dimmer icons could save steps for the mobility impaired and the warning bell could save time (and possibly lives) for the hearing impaired. On/Off Switch Icon:

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 51% of the total text.

New Icons for People with Special Needs

       This article describes a set of new icons, icons which
may be of value to people with special needs.  The on/off switch,
dimmer switch, and warning bell icons are operators which can act
upon target icons which represent physical entities.  The on/off
switch and dimmer icons could save steps for the mobility impaired
and the warning bell could save time (and possibly lives) for the
hearing impaired.
On/Off Switch Icon:

      An on/off switch icon could be valuable to people with special
needs.  Mobility impaired people could turn their lights, stereo, TV,
etc., on or off by a PC touch-screen use of an on/off switch icon.
Fully-abled people would also find such functions useful.

      This icon could look like a standard wall switch (Fig. 1).
Each click of a mouse key or touch (touch screen) would cause the
switch to reverse its setting between on and off.  Once the correct
setting of the on/off switch was determined, a double-click via the
mouse (or double touch via touchscreen) would result in on or off
being implemented.

      The best means to implement the on/off switch icon would be
pairing it with a vector of target icons.  This second icon would be
the symbol of what was going to be acted upon.  This vector of icons
being acted upon could include a lightbulb icon, TV icon, radio icon,
PC printer icon, etc.  By use of a mouse (right key scroll forwards,
left key scroll backwards), the user would scroll through the vector
of selectable icons until the desired target was displayed (Fig. 2).
The user would then double click on the on/off switch to enable or
disable that physical target (entity).

      In effect, we are divulging a form of icon algebra of the form
Y = F(X).  X is the vector of targets to be turned on or off.
F is the operator, in this case the on/off switch in Figs. 1 and 2.
Y of F(X) is then the final state of the physical entity, i.e.,
either on or off for the on/off switch icon.  We note that switches
with more than two states could also be implemented in this manner.
Fig. 3 shows one such icon which has forward, off, and reverse
positions.

      The user would scroll through the independent variable X, which
is the target vector of icons, by single clicks of the mouse keys.
Once the desired target was selected, then the user would position
the on/off switch icon to the desired state, F, on or off for Fig. 1,
by single clicking on the mouse.  By double clicking on the switch at
this time, the physical entity represented by the icon would be
turned on or off, i.e., Y = F(X).  This Y = F(X) embodiment is felt
to be novel because it uses icons in a MxN matrix, where there are M
states or choices for N target icons.  M equals two for Figs. 1 and 2
and it equals three for Fig. 3.
Dimmer Switch Icon:

      A histogram-like dimmer switch icon could be used to regulate
the intensity of artificial light in a room.  As shown in Fig. 4,
...