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Re: Icon Theme

David Nielsen wrote:
Máirín Duffy skrev:
David Nielsen wrote:
This all aside the fact that Tango is a damn fine piece of work, it has great usability testing,

Where are there details about Tango's usability testing?

I do not remember reading about this anywhere on their site. I'm genuinely curious because I was completely unaware usability testing had been performed on the icons.

I believe Tango has been part of the Better Desktop testing, if I am mistaken then


Yeh, no icon-specific tests there that I can identify.

at the very least their comprehensive style guide has
mentions of basic considerations to make for usable icon design so at least their style shows some consideration being given to the objective even if indirectly.

I wouldn't say their guidelines are any more conducive to 'usable' icons than any other icon style guidelines. There are design elements in the guidelines that help achieve better usability - the best one is the solid outline around the icon. Of course, Tango actually has guidelines while Echo does not - which is a good point.

I apologize for my use of the word "great", it has
undergone, at least, indirect usability testing and it's designers and guideline authors, at least a few of them, are aware of usability concerns (Ryan Collier and Anna Dirks are both usability people by trait).

I studied usability practices in graduate school and perform usability testing professionally. I've also contributed to Echo in the past. This does not mean Echo is usable.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with a *lot* of your points. But I think you're muddying the issue with the 'usability' point. There are pretty big differences between interaction design, visual design, usability, and accessibility. The boundaries of these disciplines do bleed over sometimes and are discussed quite frequently [1]. But, the basics of it are:

1) DESIGN is up-front, before implementation.
2) USABILITY is at the end, after *something* has been implemented (whether it's a mock or an initial iteration). Usability is kind of like QA for design.

Echo aside, it seems clear that Tango has 1 but not 2, so 'usability' doesn't seem a valid selling point. 'Consistency' which helps usability, maybe.


[1] http://lists.interactiondesigners.com/pipermail/discuss-interactiondesigners.com/2004-July/001981.html

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