I am developing a program that saves Word documents.
We develop on Mac OSX (in a Virtual Machine) and as such the Word Icon we have used is the Mac-specific word icon (which makes no sense when deployed onto a Windows Computer, and probably won't be recognised by the majority of Windows users). I'm going to change this icon in the application to be the Windows specific icon.
However, it got me thinking about different platforms. Office 2003 users will be familiar with a different icon than Office 2007 and Office 2010 (I think those are the right years). Similarly if we port the application to Mac at any point Mac users will also be used to a different icon.
I know that we could potentially choose a generic icon for use within the application (and actually modifying the image between different platforms isn't going to be all that difficult). My main thought was what was the "better" option.
- Settle on a generic icon so that there is continuity between applications across platforms. Anyone using the same application on a different machine will have the same expected experience.
- Have distinct icons for each platform which will make the application look more professional and tailored for each platform, and will also give the relevant icon recognisable for the platform the user is on.
- Another option. E.g. create non-recognisable generic icons fitting the design of the application which can be used across platforms but require a learning curve and potentially alienate users.