I am working on a groupware application running as a desktop application (not in the browser). I wanted to keep the interface really simple and minimalistic so my users will not get distracted by a rather big and noisy menu bar (because I do not think my users will not be that familiar with the computer and typical navigation menus).
I looked at several (web) applications which feature icon navigation. However, they always use labeled buttons beneath them which serve other purposes.
My question is: Is it possible to create an intuitive and easy-to-use navigation bar with icons only (where a description is shown on mouseover)? Is this possible by just making it so obvious what a button does just by its icon?
A screenshot of my current design:
EDIT: The top icons work as tabs. They change the current context in the application. For example wall, tasks, mail and so on. The lower buttons work as action buttons which allow users to interact with elements in the current context. So I actually have two separate navigation bars (combined) which I think make the situation a little "worse".