I HATE the lack of protocol icons

Etan Reisner pidgin at unreliablesource.net
Tue Jun 12 11:59:34 EDT 2007

On Tue, Jun 12, 2007 at 08:47:00AM -0700, Sean Egan wrote:
> I guess the metaphor to a traffic light isn't as obvious as I think it
> is. We have a "green light" for "I'm available for you to talk to me"
> and a "do not enter" for "I'm busy, please leave me alone." I think
> these are great.

I very much see the 'green circle' == 'traffic light' metaphor, the
problem is that a traffic light doesn't say 'available' it says 'go' or
'drive' (or 'stop' if you are walking across that street).

And yes, to be perfectly consistent I would have to say I don't like the
'do not disturb' icon, but that icon bothers me much less for whatever
reason. And I have absolutely no problems replacing that icon as well, it
just doesn't annoy me nearly as much as the green circle.

> >I think the green circle is a horrible icon, for a number of reasons. It
> >lacks any distinguishing features of its own, which makes finding it
> >harder than it needs to be (no I'm not color blind, but I don't pay much
> >attention to color in general).
> I am color-blind, and I think it's fine. All the other icons have
> distinguishing features, which, in effects, distinguishes the green
> circle. However, people with other vision impairments might have a
> problem that the icon doesn't have a distinct silhouette: a problem
> shared with 'away' and 'offline.'

My point was not that it needs to change because it is useless to
color-blind people but rather that we seem to have intentionally removed
the ability to use shape as a distinguishing feature and I do not
understand why.


> >I'm not wedded to the feather, it was just an idle thought my wife and I
> >had, I'm more than open to suggestions of better icons for 'available', I
> >just really don't want to stick with the circle.
> I'd much just not show an available icon at all than have my list
> littered with feathers.

Showing no icon, aside from being requested by almost everyone who
complained about the no protocol icons (because somehow having no icon not
indicating the protocol is better than having an icon not indicating the
protocol, don't ask me to explain that it has me baffled) was actually the
first suggestion my wife, and a friend of mine, came up with upon seeing
(and disliking) the green circle. I countered that having the large empty
space would look visually jarring, if people don't care about that then
I'm fine with it. I think we should have an available icon but if we ship
without out I'll either deal with it or add my own.

> -s.


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