Icons: Systema Iconic Language: Part IV

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I have been thinking about all I have read to this point and something occurred to me this evening.  There are no such thing as nodes and links.  There are only equilibrium and non-equilibrium states respectively.  Newtonian Thermodynamics only describes equilibrium states.  It does not account for the transition between states when equilibrium does not exist.  So it is with all networks.

When you navigate the web, you are actually moving from one HTML equilibrium state to another HTML equilibrium state.  The page metaphor is concealing the conceptual character of the process.

Back to Basics

The web navigation buttons on a browser are also deceptive.  They do not reveal the logical consistency between the navigation of hypertext networks and goal networks, contact networks, service networks, product networks, location networks, event networks and unit networks.  The consistency between the many forms of media is also concealed by not recognizing that all forms of media are networks transitioning between equilibrium and non-equilibrium states.  It is important to recognize that any form of process or data structure is really a network, even relational databases are simply lattice networks.

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The above Icons are the only ones you need to deal with “step” and “loop”, two of the three “linear” processes for navigating any network.  In reality there is no such thing as a linear network.  There is only a path through a set of equilibrium states connected by these non-equilibrium states.  The remaining “decision” is not a binary decision, but a case or switch which is represented by hyperlink icons.

In reality, with the option to back track and break continuity by creating new browser windows, navigation of the web is much more like Prolog than say Basic or C.

It is that simple.  The above icons are the universal icons for navigation of any network, the rest irregardless of conceptual and physical meaning are hyperlinks.

I think it is significant to indicate the target state for hyperlinks through use of icon background shape and color, and to indicate target context through the use of icon foreground content.  This would make hyperlink icons much more communicative and universal.  As also discussed, hyperlink content could be presented as picticons (picture icons), graphicons, (graphic icons), liticons (text icons), sonicons (sound icons), anicons (animated icons) or vidicons (video icons) that exhibit proscribed behavior when rolled over.

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Icons: Systema Iconic Language: Part II

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I have been reading the work of Shi-Kuo Chang from Pittsburgh University and I am really enjoying it.  His thoughts about icons was and is truly expansive.  For example he not only discussed traditional icons, but:

  • Icons – Image Icons
  • Ticons – Text Icons – Icons that display text when rolled over
  • Earcons – Sound Icons – Icons that play sound when rolled over
  • Micons – Motion Icons – Icons that animate when rolled over
  • Vicons – Video Icons – Icons that animate and play sound when rolled over

This led me to think about my work with datatypes and entitypes:

  • Why – Goal – Logical Type – Logicon – Boolean
  • How – Service – Qualital Type – Qualicon – Integer
  • When – Event – Momental Type – Momenticon – Datetime
  • Who – Name – Nominal Type – Nomicon – Text
  • Where – Location – Spatial Type – Spacicon – Clob
  • What – Product – Quantital Type – Quanticon – Float
  • How Much – Unit – Metrical Type – Metricon – Char

The Metrical Type would define the data format and unit of measure.

Related Links:

On the Expressive Power of Graphical Query Languages (PostScript)

Dynamic Visual Languages (PDF)