User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm looking for an icon that will live in an iPhone's footer menu bar that resembled 'sign-in'.

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by JonW Aug 14 '12 at 11:01

Questions on User Experience Stack Exchange are expected to relate to user experience within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Making a tab bar icon for Sign-in is not just unadvisable or confusing, but flat-out wrong. From the iOS Human Interface Guidelines:

Use a tab bar to give users access to different perspectives on the same set of data or different subtasks related to the overall function of your app.

In general, use a tab bar to organize information at the application level. A tab bar is well-suited for use in the main app view because it’s a good way to flatten your information hierarchy and provide access to several peer information categories or modes at one time.

Signing in is not a perspective on a set of data, but rather a modal action required before certain functionality becomes available. It therefore does not belong in any tab bar.

share|improve this answer

I'd probably use something like this: enter image description here

Yes, it's not an icon, but it is clear to everyone what it does. I haven't seen any standard icon that most people would understand as sign in. So you could find something that looks good and that some (maybe) people understand, but would you improve the overall experience for most people? I doubt it.

Just use a button with clear text. If you have to use an icon, use almost anything you like as long as you label it. Still not as clear as a button though.

share|improve this answer
I fully agree. "Sign in" is a bit too abstract to express in a simple iconographic metaphor, and I've never seen a major site use a particularly successful icon for it. A key or lock is occasionally used but that's not the clearest. – Ben Brocka Sep 22 '11 at 18:09
The menu bar of an iPhone app does not use buttons. Would like to put the icon there accompanied with the words 'Sign-in'. – bart Sep 22 '11 at 18:22
@bart: The footer menu is not used for links like Sign-in. It goes against standard use as well as the Apple HCI guidelines. Icons in the footer menu bar aren't for performing direct actions. Think navigation. – JohnGB Sep 29 '11 at 17:12

There is no standard sign-in icon, since the majority of apps which require a sign-in do it before the user gets access to the app.

If you're intent on having an icon maybe a padlock, or a key? But a button with sign-in would be much clearer.

share|improve this answer

I use an arrow to the right. Could be a key or a keyhole. Or a Power button.

share|improve this answer

I think you may need to reconsider having the sign in in the bottom tab bar (it is a tab bar I'm assuming). It's not common practice to have sign in/out there, as it'll not be used very often. I'd recommend keeping the tab bar items reserved for frequently accessed screens.

As a solution you could either move the sign in button to a settings tab (if you have one) or simply in the form of a button in the top bar on the right or left hand side.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.