The idea of using graphic symbols as a means of or support for communication or in more general terms as a picture word processor, appears to be on the increase.
The designers initially started out to create an effective picture system and a handy aid to call up pictures quickly and efficiently. The nature and the build-up of the system has thus come from the objective. The Beta system was developed as a visual, communication-supportive system, from the conviction that there existed a void in the variety of systems that in general were found to be too abstract or to systematic. In fact, the system wasn’t developed as a means for communication as such, but as an instrument to develop communication aids. That doesn’t mean that a lot children and adults cannot learn to work with the system. It has proved to be a very useful tool in language teaching since Beta is also available in French and English.
Various visual systems already exist that act as a support for verbal communication that doesn’t transpire or is difficult get off the ground: CAPP, picto, pentagon, Maria Roepaan, PCS, Picsyms, Bliss, ... All of them work using pictures that attempt to find a compromise between written language and solid depictions, although the majority of the systems tend to veer more towards a very symbolic, abstract presentation of topics. The Beta system endeavours to reproduce ideas through conveying them via more realistic pictures so that they are easy to use for less gifted children and adults.