Halphabet, a modern alphabet
I will eventually have a whole page defining Halphabet in more detail. The concept is simple. Books & written characters are the way they are because of thousands of years of paper and ink history. The only way to provide non-verbal information was to come up with a symbolic character set in black/dark “ink” and place it on paper. The printing press revolutionized this process so that more people could access the world's information “inexpensively”. The computer and internet expanded this access to information for people exponentially all using the same existing character sets essentially thousands of years old.
The character set, however, is archaic. It was created for people to recognize shapes written usually in a single dark color on a piece of whiteish paper. A single color was a restriction of a practical nature for ink/paper and was especially so for the early printing press. The shape and placement of the character were more important. Changing characters was difficult and colors were restricted. Colors were used for emphasis but it was a complex process and not often used. The modern laser printer would make color available easily for printed work. Monitors too, as of 1990 or so, started providing the ability to have color used with characters in volume. But characters were not color-based.
Human abilities are being squandered, however, with the current 2000+-year-old character set. Humans are able to see millions of colors and with very fine detail. Our ability to discern a great deal of information from color pictures/imagery is quite amazing. None of that color ability is being used in the existing character set. What would be more efficient is to communicate leveraging color to differentiate letters, words for numbers, and symbols. Providing characters based on color can be readily achieved on electronic devices today. These modern devices are fast and have high pixel density to offer more information in a smaller area.
Halphabet is a new way to show letters, numbers, symbols and words using only colored dots (or any shape). These characters, dots can be anywhere from one colored dot to four colored dots high. They are arranged like existing characters next to each other margin to margin, line after line. Letters, numbers, words, and symbols are represented using four different colored (red, green, blue, yellow) RGBY dots. The number of dots used for the letter is based on the frequency ranking of that letter usage in the language. More commonly used letters use less dots. Some examples:
‘e’ common letter, would only be one colored dot, green.
‘t’ also common, would be one dot, blue
‘z’ not common, would be three colored dots. Yellow blue-green
‘the’ a very common word, would rank as a four-colored dots, red red red red
‘.’ the period, a common symbol, is a single colored dot, red, representing a stop
‘,’ the comma, another common symbol is yellow, representing slow down/caution
There are many more supporting all letters, numbers, symbols, and common words. All of these are represented as one to four colored dots high and each of the same width and height. The existing Latin character set had to differentiate by shape, not color due to printing/ink. Thus, there is a lot of wasted width in the text. Halphabet can pack information characters close to each other and in fixed width. The current Latin system of character widths are different and have no basis for their widths other than history. This leads to unusually long and wide areas needed for display.
(this is a game of random of letter positions I wrote for my kids. One is Halphabet, one Latin, they do not correspond here FYI)
Halphabet leverages the color and the high detail viewing capacity of humans. It is truly made for humans and efficient. It leverages phonetic aspects of the Latin characters and logographic type, like Chinese, for commonly used words in one symbol. It also has some aspects of computer science and compression technology using the frequency of letters and words to reduce the amount of data that needs to be displayed to people.
Of course, sometimes different font sizes or styles are used for artistic or emphasis in Latin character-based text. This too can be done with Halphabet. Different sized dots or shapes can be used for the same purpose. You can imagine circles being used, small or large, or squares, hearts or other shapes. They can be big, like the letter ‘T’ in ‘The’ in some handwritten documents, or small or italicized or angled.
I realize this sounds crazy. Nobody wants to learn how to read again. But, I think it's important to always examine and challenge even the most assumed ways things are done. Even the character alphabet! If Halphabet had been the way we all learned to read, to then see the black and squiggly Latin characters would be equally appalling or more so. We might think. One color? Why the randomness of shapes?
Halphabet could also allow for some optimized electronic books, as previously described in a post. With fixed-width, colors, and leveraging humans' detailed pixel density ability along with natural language processing, you could have a Halphabet “Kindle” the size of your thumbnail. It would readable at 10x faster rates and easier on people's eyes as scanning is not needed. Quite amazing if you think about it.
For people who are colorblind, their electronic reading devices could be set up to use alternative non-RGBY colors. Different color intensities of what they colors they can see could be used to replace RGBY.
So there you go ;-)
For the curious, the Halphabet name is derived from two things. One is, “H”, Harold, my last name, so satisfying my ego. Second is from space Odyssey 2001, HAL, “H”, as this alphabet, Halphabet, would be something the HAL computer would come up with.