To design pictorial representations, such as icons or other graphics, begin by defining the graphic's purpose and use. How will the graphics help the users finish a task? Graphics are used to support or illustrate the user's task rather than to compete with or distract from the task.
Graphics for symbolic purposes, such as icons or toolbar images, are most effective when you use real-world metaphors. It is often difficult to design icons that define operations or processes — activities that rely on verbs. Consider nouns instead. For example, scissors can represent the action cut.
- For accessibility reasons, do not convey essential information through images alone.
- Do not use text in graphics, because it would require localization.
Exception: If it will not need to be localized, you may use text.
- Do not use culturally specific images. What may have a certain meaning in one country or culture might not have the same meaning in another. Avoid using people, stereotypes, faces, gender, or body parts as icons. This is particularly important for an international audience, as such images may not easily translate or could be offensive.
- When you must represent people or users, depict them as generically as possible; avoid realistic depictions.
- Make the scale, orientation, and color consistent with other related images.
- Provide sufficient contrast for your images so that users can identify different elements or details of the images.
- Do not use a triangular arrow graphic similar to the one used in cascading menus, drop-down controls, and scroll arrows, except where user interaction results in additional information being displayed. Such an arrow on a button implies that a menu will appear when the user clicks it.
- For graphics that represent interactive content, provide a visual cue that the item is interactive and a text description of what it does. Visual cues include changing the pointer or displaying a ToolTip.
Icons are used throughout the Windows interface to represent objects or tasks. The system uses icons to represent your software's objects, so it is important to design effective icons that communicate their purpose.
Icons should be designed as a set; consider their relationship to each other and to the user's tasks.
Icon Sizes and Types
Windows Server 2003 applications use 16-color icons in three sizes: 16 X 16 pixels, 32 X 32 pixels, and 48 X 48 pixels.
Icons are produced in either BMP or ICO formats, depending on the requirements of the application.
- Use colors drawn from the 16-color system palette to make sure that icons look correct in all color configurations.
- Define icons not only for your application's executable file, but also for all data file types supported by your application.
Icons for documents and data files should be distinct from the application's icon. Include some common element of the application's icon, but focus on making the document icon recognizable and representative of the file's content.
- Register the icons you supply in the system registry. If your software does not register any icons, the system automatically provides one for your application. However, it is unlikely to be as detailed or distinctive as one you supply.
- Use a common design style across all icons. Repeat common characteristics but avoid repeating unrelated elements.
- Use real-world (rather than metaphorical) imagery. Literal representations communicate concepts more effectively than abstract symbols.
- To facilitate recollection, design icons simply and distinctly. Apply the icon consistently to build recognition; design small icons to be as similar as possible to their larger counterparts. Try to preserve their general shape and any distinctive detail. If there are existing images for illustrating objects such as documents, rather than introducing new visuals for communicating established concepts, reuse (or extend) the established visuals.
- Consider how overlay images — such as a shortcut icon, an offline icon, or other visual annotations — might affect the appearance of icons. Overlays (such as the shortcut arrow or a status indicator) will obscure detail in the lower-left and lower-right corners of an icon.
- Use only one status annotation per icon. This increases the impact of each annotation and reduces information overload for users. Choose the most important status information you want to display, and then select the status annotation that corresponds to that concept.
Always place the status annotation in the lower-right corner of the icon. Consistently placing status annotations makes it easier for users to distinguish the status information from the icon itself.
Icons are primarily intended to represent objects with which users can interact. Therefore, be careful in the use of icons, and follow these guidelines:
- Use an icon as the representation of an object — for example, a folder icon in a folder's property sheet.
- Use an icon to reinforce important information — for example, a warning icon in a message dialog box.
- Use an icon to provide visual anchors to help users quickly navigate through a task.
- Avoid using icons in lower-level dialog boxes, as this creates visual clutter.
- Use the system's common toolbar images as a resource to maintain consistency.
- Make the icon dimensions 16 X 16 pixels.
- Use the Windows 16-color palette.
- Place a black border around the image for both the default and active states, except for arrows or Xs.
- Images should be fairly flat in appearance with little dimension or shading.
- Use standard icons as shown:
If you use these images, use them only for the functions described. Consistent use of these common tool images allows the user to transfer learning and skills from product to product. If you use one of the standard images for a different function, you might confuse the user.
ConceptsLayout Specifications: Win32
Layout Specifications: Windows Forms
This year has again seen good attendance to our after school Technology Club. The year 7 students have been making all manner of products, including up-cycling an old vinyl record amplifier and building a wooden mobile phone stand. The students have also made suspended moving toys and an acrylic Christmas decoration. A big well done to the students.
'My automaton and me'
8C students have been studying mechanical systems in their technology course and learning how linkages, cranks, cams and followers and other devices can be used to make automata.
They have designed and made their own mechanism with a fun character output - as can be seen in the accompanying photos.
Year 9 Computer Aided Design (CAD) Work
Year 9 learners were given the brief to design a medal suitable to be presented to the Olympic Torchbearers that carried the flame through Pontefract. The slides below show three examples of the work done.
Year 11 GCSE Product Design - coursework assignment.
Year 11 pupils have recently completed their GCSE practical assignments based upon the design of low voltage decorative lighting systems. All of the designs are original and fully functional.
'LOW VOLTAGE LIGHTING SYSTEMS'
Year 8 Structures and Mechanisms project.
In this assignment pupils learn how to design and build a light weight but rigid structure which can be made into the chassis for a propeller driven buggy. They also study electric motors and make a mechanical system to power their buggies which are then tested by being raced.
Design & Technology - Key Stage 3
All pupils work through DT modules in Food Technology and core DT.
A wide range of design and make activities are offered and learners are taught how to use machine and hand tools, how to make interesting and imaginative food products, how to produce accurate designs, how to use computer aided systems and how to become confident problem solvers.
Year 9 learners also engage in a mini enterprise project where they design, make, market and sell a high quality product.
All learners have access to the latest methods of cutting using laser technology.
Overview of the year 7 core DT curriculum
The year 7 course introduces pupils to a wide range of materials, tools and processes which help to build confidence in the design and manufacture of quality products.
We understand that some pupils at key stage 2 have had little or no experience of design and technology and have therefore devised a transitional test to establish a national curriculum level at the beginning of key stage 3. This consists of a short question paper followed by a practical test.
Pupils then begin work on extended design and make assignments using plastics, wood, metals and electronic components. All of the design work is underpinned by computer work using both 2D and 3D C.A.D. (computer aided design). Machining processes are introduced in year 7 and these include drilling, sanding, buffing, machine cutting and state of the art laser cutting. Soldering is also taught as part of an electronics assignment.
Each extended assignment is assessed for levels of both designing and making. Knowledge and understanding is assessed through a short written test. Resulting grades are then recorded electronically in a data tracking system which shows progress throughout the year and key stage.
Year 8 DT - Developing skills, problem solving and designing with C.A.D.
In year 8 our pupils design and make 2 products. One of these, a hardwood jewellery box, consolidates and further develops the skills acquired in year 7. There is an emphasis on design ideas and quality of finish in the completed product.
The second assignment introduces structures and mechanical systems through the design and manufacture of a light weight propeller driven vehicle. Pupils are encouraged to work independently to solve practical problems in order to produce a successful design. Testing and evaluation is a key element in this assignment and the resulting outcomes are raced against one another to find the most successful vehicle.
Year 8 pupils are also taught how to design products using a 3D C.A.D. program. This is a separate course consisting of a number of prescribed tasks which become increasingly complex and demanding. Some pupils become extremely proficient in the generation and manipulation of 3D components which can be joined together in assemblies of mechanical parts, some of which can be animated. Success in this module is recognised through the 'PTC Mentor' award which encourages peer support in this type of work.
Year 9 DT - Springboard to GCSE
3 modules of work prepare our year 9 pupils for GCSE options. These are: Graphic Products, Food Technology and Product Design. The assignments are designed to give an insight into what to expect at GCSE level whilst further developing levels of understanding and DT capability. The product design course in year 9 offers pupils an opportunity to make a unique and original multi-purpose mobile phone holder which has been recognised nationally through 'Designing' magazine. The 3D C.A.D. skills acquired in year 8 are fully deployed in the design of this product and the parts are manufactured through our laser cutting system. This assignment is also delivered as a mini enterprise and pupils are encouraged to market and sell their product.
Examples of these products can be seen in the gallery section.
Learners may choose from the following courses leading to a full GCSE in Design and Technology.
1. Design and Technology - Graphic Products
2. Design and Technology – Product Design
3. Design and Technology – Food Technology
This is one of the most successful courses in the school – with a proven track record. Last year over 62% of learners achieved A to C grades. Learners who choose this course will be taught how to produce accurate designs using a wide range of techniques and a variety of media. In Year 10, learners work through a series of set tasks which are aimed at developing skills in the use of precision drawing equipment, stencils, transfers, air brush, cut and paste, colour work and rendering. Computers are becoming increasingly important as a design tool and learners will be taught how to create 3D images quickly and effectively using the latest software. Quality graphics can also be printed at high resolution on photo quality paper. Assignments are varied and may include the design of interiors such as bathrooms and kitchens, architectural plans, badges, logos and signs, product design, information leaflets, packaging and illustrative work. Model making is an important part of the design process and learners will be expected to produce three-dimensional outcomes.
In Year 11, learners carry out an extended task of their own choice which demonstrates their ability as a graphic designer and this is worth 60% of the final grade. There is also a written paper which counts for the remaining 40%. There are two tiers of entry for the examination: the Higher tier (H) awards grades from A* to D and the Foundation tier (F) awards grades from C- G.
Scheme of Assessment for Design and Technology Graphic Products
a. Coursework Project in Graphic Products 60%
b. Terminal examination 40%
This is a recently introduced qualification that has been adopted by a large number of centres and is ideally suited to those learners who find it difficult to choose between Graphic Products and Resistant Materials technology. Unlike the other focus areas, Product Design does not limit the learner to a restricted range of materials but allows the use of any suitable material throughout the course.
The course provides opportunities to design, model, make and evaluate products and learn about, and work with, a range of materials such as paper/card, timber based materials, metals and plastics, building on the knowledge and skills learned in KS3. Learners will be taught about manufacturing processes, techniques and technologies and how to use them as appropriate to the design and make process. They will learn about the manufacture of products singly and in quantity and the use of computers for design and manufacture (CAD/CAM.) The course is suitable for all those who are interested in designing and making and particularly for those thinking of following this subject as a career in, for example, product design, engineering design, interior design, furniture or jewellery design.
Assessment is by a coursework project (60%) and a written exam (40%). The project consists of both a design folder and a product such as CD storage, jewellery, lighting, product packaging or non-working prototypes such as games consoles or MP3 players.
There are two tiers of entry for the examination: the Higher tier (H) awards grades from A* to D and the Foundation tier (F) awards grades from C- G.
Year 7 Maze Game
Year 8 Prop Buggy
Year 8 Jewellery Box
Year 9 Electronics
Year 9 Phone Stand
Year 9 Graphics
Computer Aided Design
All year 8 learners follow a course in 3D computer aided design. They learn how to generate complex 3D solids which can be drawn to scale and joined together in an assembly of separate parts, as shown in these buggy designs. Colours and materials can be added to give near photo quality to the final images.
Environmentally Friendly Energy Sources
Some of our learners have been studying environmentally friendly energy sources with a group of engineers from NPOWER. They have worked through practical tasks using kits to build and test model wind generators and solar powered vehicles.