What are Tangible Symbols?
Tangible symbols are objects or pictures that stand for or represent something about which we need to communicate.
Tangible symbols may be:
- whole objects
- parts of objects
- associated objects
- textures or shapes
- line drawings
These different types of symbols illustrate progressively more abstract levels of representation.
What Makes Symbols Tangible?
There are several properties that make symbols tangible:
- They are permanent, that is, they exist in a permanent display and don't have to be recalled from memory.
- They may be manipulated by both the user and the communication partner.
- The relationship between symbol and referent is obvious to the individual user, since it is based on the user's own experience.
- Three-dimensional symbols are useful for people without sight, since they are tactually discriminable.