Widgit Software

Widgit Symbols Development Project

Aims of the Project

One of the principal features of the symbols developed through Widgit Software, has been their suitability for supporting literacy. The increase in this type of symbol use has demanded a more rigorous design and structure to the set. This project set out to develop a clearer foundation to the current vocabulary and to improve the quality of drawing.

The aims of the Widgit Symbol Development Project were to:

  • create a more consistent symbol set
  • reduce unnecessary visual clutter
  • provide a logical structure to the symbol schema
  • have symbols that would meet a greater linguistic needs
  • be extendable
  • be appropriate for both direct and written communication


The need for consistency of symbols and their extension for literacy use

The increase in symbol use is leading to demands for much larger vocabularies. To date the vocabulary as developed in a somewhat ad hoc manner. The original set has an underlying set of schema. These were published in the first edition of Literacy Through Symbols (Detheridge and Detheridge 1977, published by David Fulton Publishers). Not all symbols developed adhered to these conventions, and the range of schema and conventions required extension.

Where element are using in several symbols, it is necessary to ensure that these elements are drawn and used consistently.

Some symbol represent quite complex concepts and on occasion the symbols have themselves become visually complex. The guidelines have been strengthened to suggest that all unnecessary content is removed in the interests of visual simplicity.

Individual users and groups will increasingly wish to add to the symbol set to meet new or individual needs. It was therefore agreed that the publication of the definitions and guidance would facilitate new developments within an agreed style.

Very illustrative symbols available are particularly suited to use in communication books and for direct selection in conversation or other face-to-face communication. Symbols used in grammatical structures are required to be simpler, with each symbol representing only a single concept. By restricting the symbols to single concept representation they can be suitable for both direct and indirect communication.

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Widgit Online
Symbols inclusion project
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