The Must-Have Guide To Digital Symbols (Great For Non Tech-Savvy Folks)

Sometimes, we see things so many times that they just become second nature – we don’t even realize that our brains are interpreting what we’re seeing without having to give any extra thought to it.

I find this to be especially true when I’m helping my mom with her technology. I’ll tell her to hit the ‘power’ button, and it doesn’t actually say ‘on’ or ‘off’ so it confuses her. But my brain knows which button I mean – the little three quarters of a circle with a vertical line in the top. What, that doesn’t mean ‘power’ to you?

The handy infographic below takes a look at the history and some of the origins of common computer symbols that we use all the time. How did two right pointing triangles and two left(ish) pointing lines come to mean bluetooth? You can read a little bit about each one on the graphic below (or, more realistically, click here to see a larger image, so you can actually read the text!). You’ll definitely learn a little something to share at your next cocktail party!

Origins of Common UI Symbols

  • Power
  • Ethernet
  • Bluetooth
  • Pause
  • Play
  • USB
  • Standby
  • Firewire
  • At
  • Apple
  • Spinning Wheel of *(&@*&!!!