- Icon (computing)
computer displays, a computer icon is a small pictogram. Icons have been used to supplement the normal alphanumerics of the computer. Modern computers now can handle bitmapped graphics on the display terminal, so the icons are widely used to assist users.
Icons were first developed as a tool for making computer interfaces easier for novices to grasp in the 1970s at the
XeroxPalo Alto Research Center facility. Icon-driven interfaces were later popularized by the Apple Macintoshand Microsoft Windowsoperating environments.
A computer icon usually ranges from 16 by 16
pixelsup to 128 by 128 pixels. Some operating systems feature icons up to 512 by 512 pixels. When the graphical output devicehas a smaller size, the icon size is small. Vision-impaired users (due to such conditions as poor lighting, tired eyes, medical impairments, bright backgrounds, or color blindness) may need to utilize the self-selected icon size options.
Role in user interaction
Icons may represent a file, folder, application or device on a computer
operating system. In modern usage today, the icon can represent anything that the users want it to: any macro command or process, mood-signaling, or any other indicator. User friendliness also demands error-free operation, where the icons are distinct from each other, self-explanatory, and easily visible under all possible user setups.
Icons may also be found on the desktop, toolbars and in the menus of computer application software such as
Microsoft Word. Icons are made more user-friendly by being very distinct from every other icon. Each icon set may also have unifying features that show that similar icons are related to each other. Icons show this by:
#Composition (large or small area, top/bottom, left/right, centered/perimeter)
#Pattern-contrast (Horizontal-striped, vertical-striped, slanted-stripes, circles, oblongs, ...)
#Light-on-dark, or dark-on-light
#Fine-detail (with thin lined drawings)
Virtually every major computer operating system has the ability to use an icon-based
graphical user interface(GUI) to display information to end users; this is evident in the usage of the term "icon" in the WIMP computing paradigm (for Windows, Icons, Menu, Pointers).
Function or program icons
items.Most computer functions in a GUI are represented by a function icon. Placing the cursor on the icon, and clicking (or double-clicking) a mouse, trackball or other button starts the function or program.
The creation of a good function icon can be considered an art form in itself, comparable to that practiced in the past in the domain of miniature painting by old masters such as
Joseph Severnand Charles-Francois Daubigny.
The icon must be original, distinctive and tiny. It must be useful on a wide variety of monitors set at different resolutions. This work is further complicated by the need to create several sets of function icons for several types of views in several types of operating systems, for any given program. For instance, the GUI guidelines in one operating system might specify the need to create sets of 16, 32, and 48 pixel icons for any program while the GUI guidelines in another system might specify sets of 16, 24, 48 and 96 pixel icons.
Avatar (virtual reality)
Favicon- an icon for a website, for example, .
* Windows Icon Image
Apple Icon Image
Elements of graphical user interfaces
* [http://www.aci.com.pl/mwichary/guidebook/icons/components Guidebooks Components] - timeline of icons of various graphical user interfaces
* [http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/learnmore/sawyer_03june30.mspx Microsoft's "Let's Make a Theme: Customize windows XP"] - article containing Microsoft's definition of 'icon'.
* [http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms997636.aspx Microsoft Developer Network "Creating Windows XP Icons"]
* [http://developer.apple.com/documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/OSXHIGuidelines/index.html Apple Developer Connection "Introduction to Apple Human Interface Guidelines"] - contains guidelines for creating Mac OS X icons
* [http://developer.kde.org/documentation/standards/kde/icon-style.html KDE's "Icon Style Guide"]
* [http://wiki.kdenews.org/tiki-index.php?page=Icon+Guide KDE Wiki on Icons]
* [http://library.gnome.org/devel/hig-book/stable/ GNOME Human Interface Guidelines 2.0]
* [http://www.gimp.org GIMP]
* [http://www.indiandevs.com/devs/webdev-icon-pack-released WebDev Icon Pack]
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