14 Ağustos 2011 Pazar

When Symbols Fail

When Symbols Fail

"something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance(merriam-webster)".

A symbol is an abstraction of a thing, a system, a concept, an idea or a belief.

Computer icons, mental models, metaphors, analogies and SYMBOLs all simplify the task of handling the thing they abstract.

Symbol is a small figure, a simple picture when absolute. A simplifying or delegating behaviour, concept, idea when abstract. A head carve tha symbolizes the belief of a woman for example.

A symbol must be very simple to percieve and be able to trigger the abstract or complex thing it signifies.

When symbols fail:

1. When the symbol fails to indicate the true thing it signifies.

El Al cargo plane loses its motor but the captain thinks else because the motor symbol shows OK in the terrible accident at Amsterdam in the past.

2. The symbol oversimplifies or makes things look more simple then they are.

Simple rules that may help to indicate whether you belong to this or that religion may help people to conform easily but the average quality falls and the basic human facts that make religions are forgotten by some. Systems should be difficult to use, difficult enough to bring forth the operators who are mature and who have the aptitude to think in depth when flexibility is needed.

3. Symbols increase design complexity.

Every absraction done in the design adds on the implementation and maintenance work. It is not a virtue to want this or that everything you imagine at the requirements phase. Increased complexity means increased difficulty hence increased risk. It has to be worth.

4. Symbols reduce flexibility both from the point of useability and design creativity.

Introduction of uncertainity at the beginning of a large system provides ample space for later introduction of new elements or redefinition of them, maythis system be a religious belief or a modern fly-by-wire aircraft.

Kind regards.

Ora et Labora