Brad of BradBlogging had been recently bugging me about why I have graphical smileys disabled at my blog. Even made suggestion “Why Text Smilies are better than Graphical ones :P ” in my Skribit widget. By his command I am sharing my opinion on why in-text graphical smileys should go and die . \0-0/
Text is most versatile part of Internet. It may be formatted, styled and enhanced with semantic markup but there is no guarantee it would stay that way. As soon as this post is published it will be released from single looks and gain numerous appearances in different browsers and feed readers .
Graphical smileys break that versatile appearance of text – in a major way:
- they won’t scale well together with text, breaking line height;
- they won’t remain part of text when someone copy/pastes it for a quote or a note;
- they won’t show without images enabled and mostly won’t degrade to plain text properly;
- they won’t fit surrounding design and content (unless custom designed – and who bothers?).
Making content inconsistent is bad enough but there is even worse sin graphical smileys often commit. They can easily twist meaning by being different on two ends of communication . I personally had huge misunderstanding in IM when I was sending smiley with have-a-question image and other party was seeing want-to-puke one.
There is some degree of control when you hard-code smiley images in web-publishing. There is completely no control over what smiley other party will see in other places like email and IM. On forums even when you see exactly what smiley you are using today – next week smiley set can be suddenly changed, morphing your emotions in something utterly different.
Unfortunately unicode symbols☺and vector images never made it mainstream online , chaining us to pixelated hell of popular smiley sets. At least there is often option left to disable graphical smileys in forum, blogging and other web software. (x(x_(X_x(O_o)x_x)_X)x)