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I am considering a web UI imrpovement. Each icon (large, 128x128px) in flow layout represents a configuration of a certain process, and, to the user, there are a bunch of "important" settings for this process and dozens of less important ones. I would like to incorporate 3-5 most important paradigms into a single icon (say, long or short process, repeating or one-time, secure to use anywhere or for private network only...). Obviously, elements should rime and co-ordinate, but I believe it is possible to make every combination visually appealing and compositionally correct. I would then use stacked PNGs with alpha transparency.

I am a bit concerned that it is a dead end that has been tried before. Why is this approach not widedely used? Do you see any theorertical/conceptual blockers?

Update

Here is an illustration, without styling or giving it too much thought, but the idea should be clear:

enter image description here

First is a large secure scheduled task, second is distributed duplication process. Wouldn't a user, on average, identify the necessary item faster than if every item was a card with text? Obviously, the same glyphs (shown in blue) will be used in the editor itself to create a mental connection.

  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about resource gathering which is not within the defined scope of this site. – Scott Sep 25 '14 at 0:40
  • I will re-phrase. – Alex Pakka Sep 25 '14 at 0:49
  • Your asking the icons do to a whole lot of work. – DA01 Sep 25 '14 at 4:26
  • I added an illustration. I kind of see your point. It is a whole lot of thinking for designer to come up with rules too. – Alex Pakka Sep 25 '14 at 23:37
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    Could perhaps be faster for you generate dynamically the icons from the rules using SVG and Javascript? – Paolo Gibellini Sep 26 '14 at 8:12

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