Icons for expressing parallel relations

Continuing from:

We are looking at expressing the various relations between texts. Currently the only specification is using an asterisk for “partial”, so pretty much anything will be better than that!

My earlier drafts used text to describe relations. This is clear, but clumsy and takes valuable horizontal space. Use of icons in apps is extremely common these days. It is also common to use text+icon at larger sizes, reducing to just icon for mobile. Let’s have a look and see what might work.

On my preliminary thought, let’s see if we can use simple signs and arrows, thus keeping our possibilities within the fonts we already have. But maybe we can extend it to use more complex icons. One thing I have noticed is that such signs should not be too simple or innocuous (eg =), otherwise they seem to disappear.

One thing about using such icons, when you first see it, it is clear there is some kind of connection between the texts, and that there are different kinds of connection. That’s not too bad already, and may well be enough for most people. The icon can be clarified using a title attribute, or by placing text next to it, maybe some other ways. But we don’t need to shove the information down people’s throats.

Also, we should consider the relative clarity of the different forms. For example, if we say “resembling parallel” that might mean something to us, but not necessarily to a user. An icon may express the idea more intuitively, or it might not. In practice, though, it’s likely that neither approach will be perfect. To actually understand the relations, regardless of how they are presented, some explanation will be necessary.

For convenience, I repeat here the arrows available in Skolar:

← ↑ → ↓ ↔ ↕ ↖ ↗ ↘ ↙ ↞ ↟ ↠ ↡ ↰ ↱ ↲ ↳ ↴ ↼ ↽ ↾ ↿ ⇀ ⇁ ⇂ ⇃ ⇄ ⇅ ⇆ ⇇ ⇈ ⇉ ⇊ ⇋ ⇌ ⇍ ⇎ ⇏ ⇐ ⇑ ⇒ ⇓ ⇔ ⇕ ⇖ ⇗ ⇘ ⇙ ⇠ ⇡ ⇢ ⇣ ⇵ ⇽ ⇾ ⇿ ▲ △ ▶ ▷ ▼ ▽ ◀ ◁ ◆ ■ □ ▪ ▫ ▭ ▮ ▯ ▰ ▱ ◇ ◈ ◉ ◊ ○ ◌ ● ◖ ◗

Of course, we can use images or icons from a broader set, or even design our own. But sticking with Unicode for now, here’s some ideas:

  • whole parallel: ⇄
  • sectional parallel: ⇋
  • resembling parallel: ↭
  • is mentioned in: 🗨 or 🙶
  • mentions: 🗩 or 🙷
  • is retold in: ⤻
  • retells: ⤺ or ⎌
  • ranging parallels: {
1 Like

Not really, not on staging/ll/ and that is where we are working from now.
But just to be clear on this: do you want this just for mobile view or all views, also on desktop?

1 Like

Let’s assume its everywhere, and see how.

1 Like

For a resembling parallel maybe you could also consider the " ≈" symbol? To me it would be more meaningful than “↭”.

Naturally, for visitors who will often visit SuttaCentral, symbols and a legend are ok, but, I guess the best way to serve the casual visitor is using plain text above the concerned sutta.
Just my 5 cents.

what about marking different types of parallels categories by the first letter or a few letters of their name so it’s easier for a user to make a connection? this could prove more informative

Thanks for the suggestions, we will bear them in mind.