Re: Draft 2 of the proposal to encode an EXTERNAL LINK INDICATOR symbol in the BMP

From: Dominikus Scherkl (
Date: Tue Jul 25 2006 - 18:12:39 CDT

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    Kenneth Whistler schrieb:

    > I contend that site authors need a standardized *icon* [...]
    > Within that context, it isn't clear yet whether a standardized
    > *character* is needed or is helpful. [...]
    > Furthermore, making it a character puts the rendering at the
    > mercy of its availability in fonts, and opens the question of
    > the design of the glyphs in different fonts, even if available.
    > A site which is standardized on a particular shape of the icon
    > may well stick to that *despite* the availability of such a
    > character in fonts,

    For me, thats the best argument to encode it as character -
    the concrete shape doesn't matter if it's close enough to an
    arrow pointing outward of some enclosing (be it a square or
    rectangle or circle, pointing left or right or upwards or
    something between). It changes with the used font but it's
    meaning is clear in plain text, even in a b/w-printout.
    It resizes with fontsize and does not stand out if the font
    is changed. All that is not provided with an icon.
    And a browser can easily provide a fallback-font, so it's
    possible to use a kind of "standard-icon" without having to
    design one for your website.

    The use of such a character is useful because with the actual
    laws of several countries you have to disclaim any responsibility
    for external content, so some sort of indication that a link
    is external is required - the simple html-syntax automatically
    highlighted by browsers doesn't do the job.

    Of course you could use an asterisk or any other available
    character or icon for this (and remark somewhere that all
    links with that symbol are external), but a standard one
    would be very good.

    Best regards

    Dominikus Scherkl

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