What Is A Sign

Peirce, C. (1894). What is a sign? (Peirce Edition Project

What is a sign? This is a most necessary question, since all reasoning is an interpretation of signs of some kind
There are three kinds of signs. Firstly, there are likenesses, or icons; which serve to convey ideas of the things they represent simply by imitating them. Secondly, there are indications, or indices; which show something about things, on account of their being physically connected with them. Thirdly, there are symbols, or general signs, which have become associated with their meanings by usage. Such are most words, and phrases, and speeches, and books, and libraries.

Like any designer, the choices we make in the overall design of our learning environments is crucial to the adoption and acceptance of the user population. From an interface design perspective, the choice of what signs are used in our interface will impact the user population. However, we must consider whther the signs that we are using are an icon, an index, or symbol. the charachteristics of the user audience should be a factor in detremining the types of signs that will be utilized. Also, Cognitive load should play a role as well in chosing the apporpirate sign. For example, we need to consider the prior knowldge of the end user population to help us decide whther symbols indices, or icons are appropriate. If we choose signs that may not necessarily be easily interpreted or understood by the student, we are leading the student into cognitve overload and forcing the student to learn this symbol system with additional extraneous facts. However, we may leverage signs that have an instantaneous and generally agreed upon meaning, that would not cause cognitive overload, and would enable quick adoption of the overall symbol sytem.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License