The power of unicode art
3 September, 2011 § 22 Comments
Recently I’ve been working on a bug to make Firefox’s location bar easier to read for users with right-to-left (RTL) languages. As part of the bug comments, I reused some Unicode artwork that I found in Tomer Cohen’s post to bug 610682.
LTR: ⬅ ➡ ⌂ [☕ http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/ ★ ∇ ⟳] RTL: [☕ http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/ ★ ∇ ⟳] ⌂ ⬅ ➡
|☕||Favicon (hot beverage)|
|∇||Drop down list expander|
At first glance, it may seem funny to be using Unicode symbols to recreate the toolbar layout of a browser. Images or text-based descriptions could also work fine for this conversation, but neither of those offer the power that the Unicode recreation provides. Images are hard to update and the same sentence in English can be interpreted in different ways.
Describing the layout of items with Unicode symbols is the digital equivalent to paper-prototyping. Quick ideas can be discussed, and users keep the discussion focused on the order of the items instead of one-off pixel adjustments.
The next time you need to describe a complex layout, consider using some Unicode symbols. It saves lots of typing and looks cool at the same time :)