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Q: Why are they called Harvey Balls? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   6 Comments )
Subject: Why are they called Harvey Balls?
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: michaelsippey-ga
List Price: $7.00
Posted: 18 Jun 2002 23:36 PDT
Expires: 18 Jul 2002 23:36 PDT
Question ID: 29050
I've often seen small icons in PowerPoint presentations or in product
comparison charts which provide a quick visual indicator as to how
well the item being evaluated meets the criteria it's being evaluated
against.  For example, imagine a table/chart that compared attributes
of several different websites.  A website that conforms to all of
Jakob Nielsen's rules for usability design would have a ball that is
colored in 100% black on the line item for "meets all of Jakob's
rules," while a website that conforms to only some of those rules
would have a ball that is colored in with a semi-circle of black, and
a website that conforms to none of Jakob's rules would be just a
donut-looking circle with nothing colored in.

These visual indicators are commonly known as "Harvey Balls."  My
question is -- why?
Subject: Re: Why are they called Harvey Balls?
Answered By: madsky101-ga on 01 Jul 2002 09:55 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello again!

Mr. Jim Confalone, Powerpoint consultant, sent me an email last time
confirming what everyone else had said, that Harvey Balls were named
after the guy who invented the smiley face.  I am sure you remember. 
Well, Mr. Confalone seems to have been intrigued by the question, and
went on a "Harvey Balls" hunt himself.

Mr. Confalone, from, sent me an email that he
received from one of his associates, Mr. Tom Myers.  Mr. Myers was
able to answer your question.  So, without further delay here is a
copy of the email containing the requested information, "Why are they
called Harvey Balls":

"Harvey balls" are named after their inventor--Harvey Poppel (sp?),
Booz Allen partner, when I was in New York (1980). Harvey added
something else to business other than these little icons--there are
dozens of them, by the way. Harvey invented voice-mail. Harvey's
specialty was office worker productivity. He noted that most telephone
calls were essentially one-way communications. Telephone tag kept
decisions from being executed. By allowing me to leave an email for
you, you got the message sans secretary and inevitable transcription
errors. He did a lot of productivity work using clocks that pinged
every 6 minutes (1/10 of an hour) so office personnel could note what
they were doing (or not doing) throughout the day.

Harvey Poppel — (Tiburon, CA and Palm Beach, FL). Harvey has retired
after 12 years as Managing Director at Broadview Associates (a leading
information technologies mergers and acquisitions firm). Previously he
had spent 18 years at Booz Allen, leaving as a senior vice president.
He enjoys spending time managing his investments, sports and nurturing
his grandchildren. He'll be celebrating his 40th anniversary January
2, 1999.

Now you know.


I have enjoyed conducting this research for you, and feel happy that
you finally have the answer to your question.  I really try to explore
every avenue during my research, and it paid off big time with this
question.  Thanks again!

Links if interest:
michaelsippey-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Why are they called Harvey Balls?
From: robertskelton-ga on 19 Jun 2002 00:24 PDT
I'm stumped....but I find it interesting that the guy who invented the
smiley face is called....Harvey Ball!
Subject: Re: Why are they called Harvey Balls?
From: lead_digger-ga on 19 Jun 2002 02:40 PDT

Harvey R Ball was designed the HAPPY SMILEY FACE in 1963 to boost the
morale of workers in two recently merged insurance companies.

Subject: Re: Why are they called Harvey Balls?
From: michaelsippey-ga on 19 Jun 2002 10:09 PDT
yeah -- i know that harvey ball designed the happy smiley face; that i
found with a simple google query.  but it still doesn't answer my
question...  why are those little icons called harvey balls?
Subject: Re: Why are they called Harvey Balls?
From: robertskelton-ga on 19 Jun 2002 18:09 PDT
The son of Harvey Ball (smiley face man) has told me that Harvey is in
no way connected to "Harvey Balls".
Subject: Re: Why are they called Harvey Balls?
From: bowler-ga on 20 Jun 2002 09:38 PDT
Sorry I couldn't find an answer.  Although researching it reminded me
of where I always see "harvey balls"
used.  That's in "Consumer Reports" magazine.  They may have insight
to the origin since they have been
using them for years.  Unfortunately their website only allows you to email them
if you are a subscriber.  They do provide an address to send
questions.  Hope this helps.
Subject: Re: Why are they called Harvey Balls?
From: madsky101-ga on 29 Jun 2002 13:52 PDT
Hello again!

I feel as though I have I made every possible effort to find the
answer for you, and I have spent a good deal of time trying to locate
the source of the actual person who named them Harvey Balls.

I am sorry you feel my research efforts weren't satisfactory.  Maybe
another researcher will be able to assist you from this point forward.

Sometimes there is not a satisfactory answer to be found, and as far
as your question goes, I hope this is not the case.  Good luck!

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