[POLL] Symbols / Icons Instead of Words in New Stat Blocks - Yes or No?


Prerelease Discussion

Liberty's Edge

In the most recent Pathfinder 2 Playtest Blog, "Attack the Stat Block", we learned that Paizo is considering replacing some common stat words (such as 'Attack', 'Reaction', etc. with icons or symbols (seemingly something like 4th Edition D&D did, or Starfinder does)

Some folks seem to like this idea, while others do not. So, I thought an informal poll might be of value to Paizo.

Please DO NOT post comments in this thread! Instead, in one of the following two posts, click the Like/Agree button (the '+' in the upper right, just under REPLY) to indicate your vote,

Liberty's Edge

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I LIKE the idea of replacing some common stat words (such as 'Attack', 'Reaction', etc. with icons or symbols in the new stat blocks

Liberty's Edge

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I DO NOT LIKE the idea of replacing some common stat words (such as 'Attack', 'Reaction', etc. with icons or symbols in the new stat blocks


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I think they should give us a peak at what the symbol is first. If it's got the actual word (or similar) in the symbol itself I'm okay with it. If it's just a random icon then no.

I know you said no comments, but there needs to be a middle ground vote to be cast.

Liberty's Edge

Please DO NOT post comments in this thread!


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Before you vote, read these two threads

PF2 And Accessibility

Playing While Blind


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Marc Radle wrote:
Please DO NOT post comments in this thread!

Because you want the thread to agree with your foregone conclusion?

The poll is invalid without seeing the example iconography. Attempting to shut down comments to that effect is dishonest.
As Mark already explained, prior to you deciding to post the poll anyway, these polls correlate only to the OPs opinion. Just make a thread that states your opinion and be done with it, it’s just as valid.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Staff comments about polls
Eric Mona, Publisher

Quote:

This sort of poll is helpful... eventually.

We're doing some experiments with symbols and color in the playtest book, which has already gone to the printer, so that ship has sailed in the short term.

Of course, the whole thing is a playtest, and we'll be monitoring responses as we go. I think even in-house we are skeptical that color is a useful way to delineate information, so that one is really on the fence, and I suspect we'll be finding another way to handle the way it is used in the final book (overall it's fairly minor).

The symbols are a different story. We think they'll really help, but it remains to be seen if we're correct about that. Accessibility is a VERY important issue to us, so I'd say that's the primary metric we'll be using. The action symbols we're using are fairly large and not very plentiful in terms of variety, so we want to see how people feel about them as we begin working on the final presentation of the game.

It's my suspicion that the PRD and all "text-based" versions of the rules will have the [A] and [R] designations in plain text, which should help with ereaders and the like. We're going to be experimenting to see if there's a way we can code the symbols so that our visually impaired readers have to jump through as few hoops as possible with this stuff when using the standard Paizo PDFs, but this is a bit new to us and it'll take us a while to fully work out the best way to handle this.

The rules, the art, the presentation. To some degree all of this is part of the playtest, so it's very helpful to have people raising concerns about things that, well, concern them at this stage. Thanks for your continued feedback, everyone!

Mark Seifter

Quote:

As I've mentioned before when someone asked me on another topic whether they should make a forum poll, I've been doing an informal study of all these forum polls (for science!). I compared the result of such a forum poll to

#1) The result that the person who made the poll agreed with.
#2) The long-term result or result where we gain wider data (if available).

Forum polls have an incredibly high positive correlation with #1, and have nearly zero correlation with #2, which means that while they're as likely to be right as wrong in the end, they are more-or-less useless as predictive measures. I have my theories as to why, and I don't think it's based on biased wording of the forum polls (in this poll's case, the use of a 4e comparison as the primary example could be considered a biasing factor in these parts, but I'm doubtful it would have a significant effect); I think it's selection bias of who reads the original thread, clicks the link, and takes the poll(the poll-maker thinks, correctly, that many people still reading the thread agree with her before deciding to make the poll, and those people still reading the thread do agree). In other words, if you have a poll of "Who loves the druid" linked from a thread deeply about the druid, you'll get mostly druid lovers plus a few druid-bashers reading the thread, clicking the link, and responding to the poll.

That's what Erik means when he says having a survey is useful eventually: we need to be able to get a better sample of respondents to figure out a real trend.

And I'm not saying this because I'm convinced a bigger survey won't agree with the forum poll (it's just as likely to back it up with a low/zero correlation as it is to disagree) or that I'm unsympathetic on this issue (I personally still can't remember what the PF1 Bestiary icons are and think there were too many of those for my personal use). It's just not very useful data for decision-making or analysis. I'd say this even if this was a poll about an issue I was passionate about and wanted to see changed. From a scientific background, it's important to me that we do this right.

Liberty's Edge

Dragonstriker wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
Please DO NOT post comments in this thread!

Because you want the thread to agree with your foregone conclusion?

The poll is invalid without seeing the example iconography. Attempting to shut down comments to that effect is dishonest.
As Mark already explained, prior to you deciding to post the poll anyway, these polls correlate only to the OPs opinion. Just make a thread that states your opinion and be done with it, it’s just as valid.

Not at all! I thought it would remain more impartial if people didn’t post opinions and try to sway others. I was just looking for folks thoughts on the idea of icons in the statblocks. I really don’t mind what the numbers end up showing either way. I certainly appreciate your willingness to jump in and make decrees and blanket assumption though.

I posted this poll and then gave a link to it over in the main blog thread BEFORE Mark posted his comments, not after, so I think you have some facts skewed

If folks want to post here as well as vote, then so be it

Liberty's Edge

CrystalSeas wrote:

Staff comments about polls

Eric Mona, Publisher
Quote:

This sort of poll is helpful... eventually.

We're doing some experiments with symbols and color in the playtest book, which has already gone to the printer, so that ship has sailed in the short term.

Of course, the whole thing is a playtest, and we'll be monitoring responses as we go. I think even in-house we are skeptical that color is a useful way to delineate information, so that one is really on the fence, and I suspect we'll be finding another way to handle the way it is used in the final book (overall it's fairly minor).

The symbols are a different story. We think they'll really help, but it remains to be seen if we're correct about that. Accessibility is a VERY important issue to us, so I'd say that's the primary metric we'll be using. The action symbols we're using are fairly large and not very plentiful in terms of variety, so we want to see how people feel about them as we begin working on the final presentation of the game.

It's my suspicion that the PRD and all "text-based" versions of the rules will have the [A] and [R] designations in plain text, which should help with ereaders and the like. We're going to be experimenting to see if there's a way we can code the symbols so that our visually impaired readers have to jump through as few hoops as possible with this stuff when using the standard Paizo PDFs, but this is a bit new to us and it'll take us a while to fully work out the best way to handle this.

The rules, the art, the presentation. To some degree all of this is part of the playtest, so it's very helpful to have people raising concerns about things that, well, concern them at this stage. Thanks for your continued feedback, everyone!

Mark Seifter

Quote:
As I've mentioned before when someone asked me on another topic whether
...

Excellent - thank you!


I think you clipped the most important part of Mark's post:

Quote:
. It's just not very useful data for decision-making or analysis.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

What Mark wrote is fine and informative, but I think people should not read into it that anybody who creates a poll is of dishonest and self-interested agenda. Nothing Mark wrote supports that, or that there is anything WRONG with making a poll.

Anyhow, I agree Mark's conclusions imply this is not very productive / useful. I think it is further example of people attaching too much importance to mob sentiment. I think better approach, if one is confident of one's ideas, is to write well-thought out post whose ideas will stand for themself. And if you don't have anything more to really add, don't feel compelled to Reply just because there is a button on a computer screen that says that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
CrystalSeas wrote:

I think you clipped the most important part of Mark's post:

Quote:
. It's just not very useful data for decision-making or analysis.

I'm not sure he clipped it, but rather it was clipped by the word count in the quote.

Liberty's Edge

bookrat wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:

I think you clipped the most important part of Mark's post:

Quote:
. It's just not very useful data for decision-making or analysis.
I'm not sure he clipped it, but rather it was clipped by the word count in the quote.

That would be correct.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I feel like the poll probably should've included a "don't care either way" option.

Designer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Quandary wrote:

What Mark wrote is fine and informative, but I think people should not read into it that anybody who creates a poll is of dishonest and self-interested agenda. Nothing Mark wrote supports that, or that there is anything WRONG with making a poll.

Anyhow, I agree Mark's conclusions imply this is not very productive / useful. I think it is further example of people attaching too much importance to mob sentiment. I think better approach, if one is confident of one's ideas, is to write well-thought out post whose ideas will stand for themself. And if you don't have anything more to really add, don't feel compelled to Reply just because there is a button on a computer screen that says that.

I am Mark and I support this message. It is absolutely not true that people who make polls as a result of messageboard discussions are being manipulative or dishonest in doing so, nor do I think they are consciously biasing the poll options; it just so happens that the sociology of the situation causes such polls to tend heavily to support the one who called for them anyway.


Marc Radle wrote:
Dragonstriker wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
Please DO NOT post comments in this thread!

Because you want the thread to agree with your foregone conclusion?

The poll is invalid without seeing the example iconography. Attempting to shut down comments to that effect is dishonest.
As Mark already explained, prior to you deciding to post the poll anyway, these polls correlate only to the OPs opinion. Just make a thread that states your opinion and be done with it, it’s just as valid.
Not at all! I thought it would remain more impartial if people didn’t post opinions and try to sway others. I was just looking for folks thoughts on the idea of icons in the statblocks. I really don’t mind what the numbers end up showing either way.

Sorry, I was only attempting to challenge your perceived restriction on valid commentary that a sample icon set is needed for meaningful voting. The tone of my comment was not meant to be accusatory. It appears that I failed to communicate there. My apologies.

Marc Radle wrote:
I certainly appreciate your willingness to jump in and make decrees and blanket assumption though.

You’re welcome. ; )

Marc Radle wrote:


I posted this poll and then gave a link to it over in the main blog thread BEFORE Mark posted his comments, not after, so I think you have some facts skewed

If folks want to post here as well as vote, then so be it

It seems I misinterpreted your response to Mark in the other thread - I read it as saying you’d post it anyway, rather than you had and would let it continue. My error, and again my apologies.


Yeah, on second reading, seems a tad spin, like, we have set our sights on icons/symbols, in the new Playtest Rulebook, so we now have to undermine not wanting to.

Liberty's Edge

Dragonstriker wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
Dragonstriker wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
Please DO NOT post comments in this thread!

Because you want the thread to agree with your foregone conclusion?

The poll is invalid without seeing the example iconography. Attempting to shut down comments to that effect is dishonest.
As Mark already explained, prior to you deciding to post the poll anyway, these polls correlate only to the OPs opinion. Just make a thread that states your opinion and be done with it, it’s just as valid.
Not at all! I thought it would remain more impartial if people didn’t post opinions and try to sway others. I was just looking for folks thoughts on the idea of icons in the statblocks. I really don’t mind what the numbers end up showing either way.

Sorry, I was only attempting to challenge your perceived restriction on valid commentary that a sample icon set is needed for meaningful voting. The tone of my comment was not meant to be accusatory. It appears that I failed to communicate there. My apologies.

Marc Radle wrote:
I certainly appreciate your willingness to jump in and make decrees and blanket assumption though.

You’re welcome. ; )

Marc Radle wrote:


I posted this poll and then gave a link to it over in the main blog thread BEFORE Mark posted his comments, not after, so I think you have some facts skewed

If folks want to post here as well as vote, then so be it

It seems I misinterpreted your response to Mark in the other thread - I read it as saying you’d post it anyway, rather than you had and would let it continue. My error, and again my apologies.

Thanks Dragonstriker - apology accepted!

Liberty's Edge

Words!

I am literate not iconerated. (term probably invented by R. A. Heinlein)


Why not both?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Diego Rossi wrote:

Words!

I am literate not iconerated. (term probably invented by R. A. Heinlein)

But working at Walmart taught me that most people are not that literate, they can't read the price/the signs/etc.

Whether they are too lazy or busy or just can't, they can't read the signs right in front of them.
So Icons might help.


Starbuck_II wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

Words!

I am literate not iconerated. (term probably invented by R. A. Heinlein)

But working at Walmart taught me that most people are not that literate, they can't read the price/the signs/etc.

Whether they are too lazy or busy or just can't, they can't read the signs right in front of them.
So Icons might help.

This relates to a phenomena I came to realise at this old job when I used to open up the medical health centre and cover reception for the first hour, it would seem once people enter a building such as a hospital unit, shop/store, many become blind and illiterate, amazing, even the brightest and clear-sighted people. No matter how many signs and symbols and directions, people would still ask.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

For what it's worth, I am of the third opinion, the "neutral/depends/needs to see it in action" Too many icons could make reading the book actually a chore, however there are some things that maybe make more sense and will speed up reading if they are icons.

As someone who does peer review on scientific papers, we have to deal with this all the time with acronyms/abbreviations/so forth. Sometimes creating a short hand acronym is a major space saver, and leads to easier reading. However I have also critiqued papers that went so overboard with with short name terminology that the paper became difficult to read, and I needed to print out a cheat sheet just to follow along. Icons are going to be the same way: in moderation they will be helpful, but it doesn't take many icons to turn something into a mess.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MMCJawa wrote:
For what it's worth, I am of the third opinion, the "neutral/depends/needs to see it in action" Too many icons could make reading the book actually a chore, however there are some things that maybe make more sense and will speed up reading if they are icons.

As an example, I don't think the 4e iconography for different abilities was particularly problematic (the system had other problems, but that wasn't one of them). You had a stylized sword (for melee targeted attacks), bow-and-arrow (for ranged targeted attacks), a cone (for close area attacks), and an explosion (for blast area attacks), with the possible addition of a circle around the symbol to denote a basic attack. You also had a diamond symbol involved, but that mostly acted as a separator that said "the following words are keywords for this ability" (e.g. fire, weapon, teleportation).

As a counter-example of bad iconography, see the 2nd ed spell cards. There, each magic school was represented by a picture: a held-up hand on a shield for Abjuration, a hand holding a flame in its palm for Alteration (Transmutation in 3e and later), a unicorn for Conjuration/Summoning, and so on. That was bad iconography because those pictures were relatively busy, didn't really reflect the school's theme, and there were too many of them (13 including Wild magic as well as the elements). I'm not sure how many different icons are too many - I suspect it also matters if they're used in different contexts (e.g. I have little trouble with the Star Wars RPG which uses six colored icons for various dice, and another six icons for the various results of those dice).


Staffan Johansson wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
For what it's worth, I am of the third opinion, the "neutral/depends/needs to see it in action" Too many icons could make reading the book actually a chore, however there are some things that maybe make more sense and will speed up reading if they are icons.
As an example, I don't think the 4e iconography for different abilities was particularly problematic (the system had other problems, but that wasn't one of them). You had a stylized sword (for melee targeted attacks), bow-and-arrow (for ranged targeted attacks), a cone (for close area attacks), and an explosion (for blast area attacks), with the possible addition of a circle around the symbol to denote a basic attack. You also had a diamond symbol involved, but that mostly acted as a separator that said "the following words are keywords for this ability" (e.g. fire, weapon, teleportation).

I find them aesthetically unpleasing, cheesy, confusing, cheap, and lame.

I would much prefer:

Area Blast 20 ft. within 100 ft.


I like it because it lets me see, quickly, how long a spell takes to cast. How often have you messed up a casting time-or rather, had a new player mess up a casting time. Happens. I fell symbols will stand out more and be easier to spot.

I wasn't going to put a why at first, but not putting it felt weird. plus, then the post sticks around to be seen.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Anyone who drives is used to icons. A signal of a triangle with the drawing of a car and some zig-zag lines below it is easier to see and understand that a big billboard that reads "beware, the road is slippery ahead".

Same goes with anyone who has a mobile phone. It's easier to see the green icon with a bubble and a telephone inside in a screen full of other icons, than it is to read "whatsapp" in a wall of text with other app names. It is faster, easier, and people is used to them, specially younger people.

Now, there is a real concern about how this will work for people with impaired vision, and how that can be solved for the software those people use. But icons DO help to communicate information quickly.


If you don't want comments to clutter up a comment thread, then go to one of the many sites that let you make a simple poll and link to it.


I copy/paste rules text with some frequency, and icons are much more likely to be lost in that process.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I saw the icons they were using for the playtest handouts at PaizoCon. I'm not thrilled on them -- different icon for reaction, action, double action, free action. I think they're all reasonably distinct, but not particuraly "descriptive". Didn't feel they grabbed the eye in a useful way. So hoping they revist them a bit after the playtest (and definitely need to work on the accessibility concerns people have raised).


XreaperDK wrote:
I think they should give us a peak at what the symbol is first.

This is how I feel. I'm going to have to see the symbols and how they are implemented to see how I feel about them. I might hate em or like em.

Wayfinders Contributor

NielsenE wrote:
I saw the icons they were using for the playtest handouts at PaizoCon. I'm not thrilled on them -- different icon for reaction, action, double action, free action. I think they're all reasonably distinct, but not particuraly "descriptive". Didn't feel they grabbed the eye in a useful way. So hoping they revist them a bit after the playtest (and definitely need to work on the accessibility concerns people have raised).

If the icons were the ones shown during the banquet, then I agree with NielsenE. If it weren't for Jason describing what I was looking at, I would have no clue what the symbols were supposed to mean. I saw two and I THINK they were the reaction and action ones, but if it weren't for the dialogue going along with them I wouldn't have a clue. They had same colors, similar shapes, similar iconography. These are not traits of properly distinct image markers. Though I must praise them for being simple. The Starfinder icons had too much detail and similar color hues to be immediately distinct, but now there's a problem of these icons being too similar.

I think gustavo iglesias had the complete right of it, actually.

gustavo iglesias wrote:
Anyone who drives is used to icons. A signal of a triangle with the drawing of a car and some zig-zag lines below it is easier to see and understand that a big billboard that reads "beware, the road is slippery ahead".

Road signs are meant to be glanced at and immediately distinct and understood. They have three things that are used as identifiers: color, shape, and imagery/wording. A red, octagonal sign that says "STOP" means stop, and even if you're too far away to read the words, the shape and color is distinct. Yellow signs mean caution and vary in exact meaning by shape and picture, but seeing a yellow sign tells you that it's a warning about something. Red means regulatory or prohibited behavior. No Parking, No U-Turns, Stop, ect. And lane movement will always incorporate white rectangles with arrow pictures.

Now granted, I can only speak for American road signs, but they serve a similar purpose to the icons in the book. Players should only need to glance at the icon to understand what it's trying to convey, and icons need to be distinct from one another so that there is minimal need to examine the symbol closely. Colors and shapes are the best way to do this, then details inside the icons like lines or patterns IF needed. I will put my vote down for "yes", but with the caveat that if it's done poorly, it will be more trouble than just writing out the action type with words.


Weather Report wrote:
Starbuck_II wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

Words!

I am literate not iconerated. (term probably invented by R. A. Heinlein)

But working at Walmart taught me that most people are not that literate, they can't read the price/the signs/etc.

Whether they are too lazy or busy or just can't, they can't read the signs right in front of them.
So Icons might help.
This relates to a phenomena I came to realise at this old job when I used to open up the medical health centre and cover reception for the first hour, it would seem once people enter a building such as a hospital unit, shop/store, many become blind and illiterate, amazing, even the brightest and clear-sighted people. No matter how many signs and symbols and directions, people would still ask.

Why would I want to wade through 50-100 signs to find the one that applies to me, when you're right there to answer the question right away?


bookrat wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Starbuck_II wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

Words!

I am literate not iconerated. (term probably invented by R. A. Heinlein)

But working at Walmart taught me that most people are not that literate, they can't read the price/the signs/etc.

Whether they are too lazy or busy or just can't, they can't read the signs right in front of them.
So Icons might help.
This relates to a phenomena I came to realise at this old job when I used to open up the medical health centre and cover reception for the first hour, it would seem once people enter a building such as a hospital unit, shop/store, many become blind and illiterate, amazing, even the brightest and clear-sighted people. No matter how many signs and symbols and directions, people would still ask.
Why would I want to wade through 50-100 signs to find the one that applies to me, when you're right there to answer the question right away?

ThIs place was more of a big doctor's office (not many signs), the bloodtest tickets really threw people; happens with bathrooms too.


Hey, there. Thank you for making the poll. I realize you do not want to replies.

I can't vote on your poll, though. That is because I'd like a mix between the two. That is, could you please give us an option of:

"A letter-based symbol, based on the first letter of the action name. So, something like cleanly hilighted/boxed 'A' for Action, or even the first two or three letters, such as 'AC' or 'Act'. This letter-based symbol should show up as that letter in screen readers for accessibility."

When teaching someone, I've found that if it includes the first letter, it's much easier for that person to remember. Human memory works best through association.

That the letter's made into a "letter symbol" helps, too--not only is it easier to teach than an abstract symbol, it also stands out more. So, "hey, they made this into a 'symbol,' so it must be an important gaming term. Oh, look, it's repeating everywhere..."

Also, Accessibility.

Thank you for making the poll. I hope you understand why I can't respond to it at this time. If you remake it, with the above option or similar, I most definitely will. :D


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

PDF's can contain embedded fonts. It would be very easy to make the Icons actually part of a font, and therefore the Action icon can map to the letter A and the reaction can map to the letter R. Then if it is colored correctly for those with color blindness I think this should alleviate a lot of concerns maybe?

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