Korpan L.M. Cultural Phenomenon Attributes in the Graphic User Interface Design

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu7.2016.1.17

Lidiya Mikhaylovna Korpan

Postgraduate Student, Department of Social and Humanities, Assistant Professor, Department of Graphic Technologies,

IFMO University

Ural State University of Physical Culture

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Prosp. Kronverksky, 49, 197101 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

Abstract. The elements of graphic user interface (GUI) design, such as “icons”pictograms and commands and contradiction between “icons” and text commands are discussed in cultural context. GUI possesses such important attributes of cultural phenomenon as prevalence, artificial nature and need of training. More of it, GUI developed by different manufacturers shares “icons” and text commands, that form a common and sustained system of symbols. Analyzing text commands meanings the author came to conclusion that text commands are used as elements of the artificial notational system, but not as words of a discursive language, and they have to meet the demands for a notational system, such as disjointness, finite differentiation and unambiquity. So, there is a choice not between a symbol system and a discursive language, but between two notational systems, each possessing strong and weak features. The criteria for choice are described in the usability standards, they are: effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction. User satisfaction is a subjective evaluation and it is strongly influenced by users previous experience and their cultural expectations. During 30 years of GUI existence users have developed certain stereotypes that influence the expectations and subjective user satisfaction with new developments, in particular, the requirements for graphic design, including the replacement of the command menu buttons “icons”. It is possible to talk about the formation and development of a permanent graphic symbols system that is universal for users from different countries and for different programs, processes and applications. On the other hand, the increasing complexity of the problems, solved with software, makes the learning and communication processes increasingly lengthy and complex. Anyway, GUI traditions have formed a cultural phenomenon and we can’t ignore it while developing new products.

Key words: pictograms, graphic user interface, symbols, symbol systems, culture of informational society, cultural phenomenon.

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