signs which must be interpreted in order to be understood
Symbols can be graphic or text.
According to Charles S. Pierce, all texts are symbols
because they must be interpreted [106 p. 643). Extrapolating from this,
we understand that the symbol “A” represents a certain sound
and functions in a certain way with other symbols because we have come
to culturally interpret it in that manner. (Note that our discussion of
anchors also includes text anchors as linguistic elements as well as symbols).
Symbols differ from icons
in that the cultural coding to understand their function is not
as prevalent. That is, a symbol (for example, a circle with an arrow
coming out at an upwards angle from the right side or a cross coming
off from the bottom) can be just as culturally coded as those found
in icons, but the function to which they would serve as anchors
is not yet culturally coded.However, while we understand the image
of a circle with a cross at the bottom to represent “female,”
we do not know what result will be produced by clicking on this
symbol.Thus, when we click on an icon of an image of an envelope,
we have culturally come to know what to expect (that is, send an
 uses symbols to indicate major sections of the work. An
eye symbolizes the directory, to see all the stories, a compass
symbolizes the map, a key the key to the connections.
Numbers also function as symbols. For
example, 0 and 1 are symbols strongly associated with binary computer
functions. Strickland's navigation in The
Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot  uses these binary
symbols for as a menu to all nodes within the web poem at the bottom
of each screen. Anchors in this navigational schema thus have a connotative
function, as the binary functions invoke the silicon, sand,
computer navigation. A binary line is not usually associated
with an action, and Strickland must educate her readers on how to use
the binary line: "Choose any gray zero from the navigation bar at
the bottom of the page in any order you wish." Thus, readers come
to symbols without the same expectations that they come to icons.
Sites often pair a symbol with a text explanation. This can entice readers
to click where they might not have been so intrigued with a plain text
link. Bankrate  uses these symbol/text
anchors only in the top menu, to reach specific financial subject areas.
FirstGov  and BBC
 both use symbols and text in their children's section, presumably
to aid poor readers with additional pictographic clues.
It is possible for an author to construct or use a symbol
that is not culturally coded with any meaning. When this is the case,
readers approach the symbol without any preconceived notions or expectations.
When used as anchors, these types of symbols provide authors with the
opportunity to inscribe the symbol with new meaning without having to
address culturally preconceived notions. Yet, authors must then take the
time to instruct the readers as to those meanings.
In The Changing
Room  defines a graphic symbol for each character that
to the character's plights. These symbols are used consistently
as headers and anchors. The anchors use a next arrow overlaid
on these symbols to indicate which which character is next on
the default reading tour.
The learning curve required to use symbolic anchors
can be quite steep, especially when there are few differentiating
marks, as the Royal Institute for Deaf
and Blind Children  demonstrates (left). The text here is
not reinforced with the meaning of the symbol but stands in so readers
can learn the particular symbol.
Screenshot used by permission.
their works, Memmott
and ] [mez] [breeze] create a creole language of computer
symbols and numbers which spills over into their anchors.