2g. Example - Croatia: Experience on Symbol Voting for Acceptance.

Updated by Global Symbols with UNICEF ECARO


The initial symbol set in Croatia chosen for voting included 250 symbols representing the core vocabulary.

  • Voting for the symbols was organized in six batches over two and a half months. It was very important to ensure voting participants (core team and AAC Forum members) were not overloaded with a large number of symbols in one batch and that they had enough time between the batches for voting. On average each group was presented with 70 symbols per batch.
  • Team members are assigned a manager role in the Global Symbols AAC voting system and they prepare a draft symbol set for each batch (series). They register on the Global Symbols website, and create a new symbol set as a draft.
  • A creator of a symbol set draft can also add collaborators by providing additional names and email addresses with a chosen password. These collaborators are then allowed to edit the symbol set.
  • Individual newly created symbols can be uploaded in an SVG format (preferred) or PNG format of the image or an excel spreadsheet template can used to provide a completed symbol set with images and labels to the Global Symbols administrator.
  • A part of speech such as an adjective, adverb, or noun and text label for each symbol can be added along with a dictionary definition of the meaning to further aid understanding. Text labels in the language of a country are required but concepts in additional languages that help with topic categorisation can be added later.
  • Surveys for each draft symbol set, can include newly designed symbols and any other symbols from a set on the Global Symbols repository. Once an online survey set is ready, a URL is presented to the manager and by copying this link the survey can be disseminated to the participants via email etc.
  • Participants see a description of the survey and can print out the form for any face-to-face voting sessions. The results from paper-based surveys can be added to online survey results afterwards.
  • After collecting the feedback, the Analyse Results part of the voting system allows the manager to review the survey results. It is possible to check individual responses or symbol statistics with average rates for every criterion (Rating, Representation, Contrast, Cultural) and overall average rate.
  • To make the process of analysing the results easier, it is better to download the Excel spreadsheet where it is possible to filter and sort the answers/ratings easily.

In the Croatian, the first three batches of symbols were based upon the ARASAAC symbol set from Spain and included only symbols from the core vocabulary. The other three batches of symbols included newly designed symbols. These freshly designed symbols were developed with a local graphic designer once feedback was collected and analysed from the first voting sessions. The last voting session included only newly designed symbols.

  • The acceptance level was defined during the analysis. In some batches, the symbols marked as inappropriate had an average rating below 3.5, while in others, the symbols were scored below 4.0.
  • As previously described, this voting process is iterative. Scores with unacceptable ratings can be returned for redesign and resubmitted with the next batch of symbols until they are considered acceptable for publication.

In the Croatian case, symbols marked as inappropriate were forwarded to the graphic designer, together with feedback from voters, who then designed several new versions for some of the symbols. This means that some symbols had more than one representation in the new voting session, so the symbol rated with the highest average overall mark is then taken as the final symbol acceptable for publication.

Besides symbols in colour, the graphic designer for newly designed symbols accepted as final, also made black and white symbol versions (high contrast versions).