Researches in humanities and social sciences indicate that people using more visual information would be more creative and benefit from the power of the human mind to a higher degree. Therefore information should not only be recorded as static text. It is rather conceivable to construct new visual languages that are not based on letters but on icons. We developed a set of medical symbols that can be used in visual representations of medical records and that may also be used to build complex medical statements. Each of the basic symbols is available in 4 abstraction levels, which can be combined in a `visual sentence'. Complex visual representations are recognized more easily than simplified versions, while on the other hand the simple version can be perceived and memorized in a faster way than complex signs. To prove this hypothesis and to evaluate the perception of the symbols in a medical context we created a web-based evaluation tool covering two perception tests. With the help of the symbol library we developed a visual language for patient records and an interactive browser.
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