More about emotes

It’s amazing the effect that icons can have.

When I created the shoutbox for 1Radio, I knew we should have some emotes - those little animated gifs that convey emotion, sentiment, info and a raft of other meanings that are often too tedious to type in full. I took inspiration from the Emoticons Guide for Yahoo Messenger and simply lifted wholesale, all the icons and the various short form abbreviations that are used to add them to the conversation.

I implemented virtually everything I could find, plus a few others that I thought might be particularly useful for a radio station such as music symbols, an MP3 player icon and other glyphs and graphics for requesting songs or sending private messages. I also had a sneak look on other Messenger systems and began to include a whole of raft of new animated gifs from wherever I found them. 

For a long while, there was no cue for understanding how you created anything more than sad face, happy face or someone poking their tongue out. Some emotes were obvious and well known, others required a bit of trial and error.

Later, clicking a tiny arrow beside the shoutbox text box where you typed your pearls of wisdom, would reveal some of the most useful icons that could be sprinkled in the conversation thread along with their text equivalents. Even to this day, I still can’t remember what magical key presses summon the clapping icon. (I’ve just checked and it’s =D>).

It was Espy who first suggested we add a few 1Radio-specific extensions to the bog standard Yahoo-style emotes. Soon, country flags, food icons, animated dancers, pulsing arrows, coloured dots, bananas and vomiting smileys soon began to appear. And of course, there were our Christmas emoticons - a set of gifs that were activated in December to bring some festivities to the shoutbox conversation.

Some people would post the same string of icons over and over again, virtually filling the entire shoutbox with line after line of smiley faces or dancing spidermen. Yes May, we’re looking at you! The only reason this could go on unchecked is that I’ve never taken the time to get my head around PHP regular expressions. It’s an algorithmic nightmare. If I had taken a week or two to read the manual and learn the syntax, I’d have had the necessary code to block them. That would have shown ‘em!  

It’s a recurring theme that many shortcomings of the 1Radio system were a direct result of my coding inadequacies. It’s true. I suppose I should have got the manual out more often but sorry dear reader, life’s just too short.


Posted by Tim on Tue 21 Dec at 09:47 and viewed 482 times.

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