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An Oracle blog about translation

  • April 22, 2016

Iconic #WearableTech: Gucci Translate Anyone?

With my interest in all matters translation, wearables, and fashion technology (#fashtech) related, this little innovation from IconSpeak naturally caught my eye.

It’s a t-shirt printed with icons that enables global travellers to communicate with others by pointing to the icons, doing away with the need for those "so-so" mobile translation apps or having to carry clunky phrase books into the bargain. The icons themselves are said to be easily recognizable worldwide and have been chosen to represent the most frequent translation needs of travellers.

IconSpeak World T-Shirt: Wearable tech taken literally

IconSpeak World t-shirt: Wearable tech taken literally?

Here’s what Travel + Leisure website has to say:

“The IconSpeak T-shirt design is surprisingly straightforward: it’s a series of 40 “universal” icons laid out in a grid. By pointing to one or more of the pictures, you can create a very basic message without having to speak a lick of the language. You’ll just have to find someone willing to play T-shirt charades with you. A taste of the icons you have to work with: an airplane, tools, an open book, camera, clock, bus, boat, a person seated on a toilet. Basically anything you need to portray day-to-day necessities.”

Yes, it's wearabletech being taken more literally. 

It’s always great to see innovation, but as a seasoned traveler and fashion fan, whatever about the idea of using icons in yet another curious ritual to interact with others (and there are some social limitations), I think the cut and colours of the t-shirts themselves might need the input of a more happening fashionista. However, you have to admire the simplicity of the idea.

You can read about IconSpeak’s inspiration on their blog. 

From a usability perspective, what kinds of things might be considered for keeping icon-based communication simple?

Check out this blog post from our user experience friends and Oracle Usability Advisory Board member EchoUser (@EchoUser) to find out: When Simple Becomes Complicated

Perhaps you feel there is more potential in using icons on clothes or other places too.

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