18.1 The Importance of Standards and Guidelines for Icons and Bitmaps

The ability to put icons and bitmaps onto presentation spaces is an important feature of GUI design.

However, if you do not have standards and guidelines for their usage, they may become a "double edged sword".

If you leave the choice and use of bitmaps and icons to individual programmers you may rapidly develop a quite complex mess.

Many different icons and bitmaps will be used for the same thing.

There will be little re-use of existing icons and bitmaps.

The entire idea of using icons as a standardized visual prompt for common activities may become totally lost in a proliferation of hundreds of overlapping, subjective and confusing icons.

For example, pre-CUA, there was no standard for the "Exit" function key. This lead to many confusing ways and methods by which you could exit from an NPT application.

If you use icons and bitmaps with no standards or guidelines, you may end up in a similar position - with 10 different "Exit" icons, all of which will confuse your end users, lower their productivity and increase their learning curves.

It is strongly recommended that you:

The following pages describe how icons and bitmaps are implemented within Visual LANSA. This method of implementation was deliberately designed to remove and isolate the icon and bitmap choices from the arbitrary programmer decisions and to assist in the implementation of consistent and standardized bitmap and icon usage across all your applications.