Thursday, April 25, 2013

Workplace troubleshooting: Menu icons

Screen capture: Google Scholar, accessing gear icon menu
At the University of California, Berkeley Library:
An explanation of how to set preferences when using Google Scholar

My assignment this week for LIBT 115, Technology in the Workplace, was to document troubleshooting a problem that I could expect to encounter at work.

The problem I encounter with social media websites and web-based email applications is a shift in usability away from clearly-labeled menu functions to pictorial icon-based labeling. No matter how many times I see a gear wheel, I have to think every time what each menu icon means.

Here are the trouble-shooting steps I came up with:

1. Does the icon appear familiar? Think about other programs that made use of this icon. Did those other programs use this icon to represent the function you are trying to access now?

2. If the icon is unfamiliar: With cursor, rollover the pictorial icon and wait for alt-text description to appear.

3. Is it the function you want? If yes, press the icon.

4. If the icon does not correspond to the function that you are trying to locate, choose another icon and repeat from step 2 as necessary until desired menu function is located.

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