An image or pictogram used instead of or supplemental to textual information. Icon requests are off topic; please keep questions related to their use rather than asking what a good icon to represent a certain item/concept would be.

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254
votes
19answers
16k views

What explains the current shift from glossy UIs to matte UIs?

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon in the user interfaces of many famous applications, they're moving away from the glossy complex to a more dull and bare minimum design. Why the sudden change? ...
160
votes
21answers
15k views

Save icon, is the floppy disk icon dead?

This Twitter post sparked me to ask the question: totally! RT @damienguard: Dear UI designers everywhere. Stop using floppy disk icons for save. Too many people have no idea what it is now. ...
98
votes
10answers
7k views

Do unique icon contours help people scan?

Many years ago, I ran across a good icon design tutorial. It said that having unique contours to icons help users scan for the item they're looking for. If this is true, why don't iPhone and Android ...
58
votes
5answers
9k views

When to use icons vs. icons with text vs. just text links?

Are there any rules on when to use icons vs. icons with text vs. just text links in a web application? For example: vs. save vs. save Extra question: Is save -or- save preferable?
46
votes
14answers
3k views
43
votes
11answers
4k views

When a button contains text and an icon, which should come first?

Assuming I'm optimizing for making it as fast and easy as possible for most users to find the button they need, what's the optimal ordering?
42
votes
9answers
4k views

How can I make monochrome icons work?

My company has just implemented a monochrome icon theme in an attempt to transition to a more "modern" interface. Feedback from the first round of user testing has been mixed: Almost everybody ...
42
votes
7answers
2k views

How should you show that an accordion is expanded?

When you have an accordion, you need some way of showing the current state is expanded. There are a number of different ways of handling this, and each is used by a number of respected websites and ...
37
votes
22answers
4k views

What would be a good non-religious icon to represent that a person has died? [closed]

I have an application that displays information about people in an organization and their accomplishments in the organization. It is non-religious in nature and members can be of any or no religion. ...
35
votes
8answers
1k views

What would be a good way to thumbnail audio?

I want to represent an audio file in an image with a maximum size of 180×180 pixels. I have been thinking about something similar to what Soundcloud does, although it will require some chopping and ...
35
votes
10answers
4k views

Has user testing found that the “three horizontal bars” for main menu on mobile is commonly understood?

"Three horizontal lines" aka "hamburger icon" seems to be becoming a convention for the "main menu" button, especially on mobile sites: Has anyone done any user testing of this convention, or got ...
30
votes
4answers
2k views

Where should the GUI light source come from?

I know that historically the light source on GUIs is in the upper left, casting a shadow on the bottom-right of buttons and the upper left of fields. Now, I see some places (like Apple) use a top ...
24
votes
4answers
1k views

How do you create or select an icon for a feature?

How do you work out what icon type or image you need for a feature? There's been quite a lot of very small questions here in the form of "What is a good icon for feature X?". Instead we should be ...
23
votes
7answers
2k views

red checkmark vs. a red “X”

I am currently designing a panel in my business application that shows a table of data to a user. The data in the table is the company's percentage (this is equated by many different values), whether ...
23
votes
12answers
3k views

Most intuitive delete icon [closed]

I'm redesigning the products admin panel for a marketplace web-app where the user can add/edit/delete products. There isn't to much space available so I need to use icons for edit and delete. What do ...
23
votes
5answers
1k views

How do you use an icon to represent 'click once' (not twice) [closed]

I need to teach my users to use issuu.com's interface -- click once to zoom in. If they double click, it zooms in then out again. I can't change issuu's component so want to add something on my web ...
23
votes
3answers
8k views

Is Apple's or Google's meaning of the three-horizontal-bar icon more popular?

Apple and Google are going head-to-head to define meaning of the three-horizontal-bars icon: In iOS this icon means "drag me to rearrange items in a list" while Google Chrome's version means "click ...
22
votes
7answers
1k views

Most intuitive favorite icon [closed]

Similar to Stefan's most intuitive delete icon question. I'm designing a web app that allows users favorite pages. A lot of big sites use either a heart or star symbol -Which one is most intuitive? ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

What is the reasoning behind grayscale icons?

Quite a few web applications have started utilizing gray(black) scale icons, for example Github,new Google Analytics, etc. Even applications like Firefox 4, Chrome, IE9, iTunes, Mac OS, have dropped ...
19
votes
14answers
3k views

What's a good icon to represent how difficult a task is to do? [closed]

I am working on an application where users get to rate various things. In one category, they are rating how "good" something is, and so I put together a little 1-5 rating system with star icons, like ...
19
votes
7answers
1k views

Are grayscale buttons with icons usable and effective?

The image here is old gmail new gmail, when no mail is selected new gmail, when mail is selected new delicious To me, the buttons are unlabeled and tough to discover. I don't believe the ...
19
votes
6answers
7k views

How to best indicate navigation menu on mobile

What's the best way to indicate the navigation menu on mobile devices? I see this three-bar icon being used a lot, but do users really understand what it means? Wouldn't a button simply saying ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

Why are search icons represented by a magnifying glass?

Why do so many applications and websites use a magnifying glass as a search icon ? A magnifying glass is a tool used to have a better view of small objects. It suits perfectly as an icon for a zoom. ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

The psychology of everyday shapes

We know a lot about colours and how they affect people, but what do we know about shapes? When choosing icons or logos, how do the shapes in them affect their perception? Does anyone know of any ...
15
votes
9answers
11k views

Symbol for “Swipe Left” [closed]

I'm working on an app that displays a list of ten items (text items) on the screen at a time. If there are more than ten items, the user should be able to "swipe" from right to left to see the next ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

Icon for “factory reset” [closed]

I'm having a hard time finding an appropriate icon for "factory reset". At the moment, I have a "warning" icon, but I am looking for something less aggressive and more to the point.
15
votes
6answers
730 views

Consistent UI experience

Shouldn't a user interface be as consistent as possible? I believe when a user uses an interface, he experiences certain behavior from the interface, and tries to couple those experiences to the rest ...
15
votes
11answers
2k views

“Tool” or “target” on vacuum cleaner pedal?

I always get confused by the icons on my vacuum cleaner pedal. Take a look at the upper icon. Is that icon representing 1) The tool. I.e. "Your now using the pedal without the brush" (ergo, on a ...
15
votes
4answers
4k views

Which way should arrows point in a collapsible accordion? Left/down … down/up?

What is the best way to indicate that it's possible to open and close an element accordion-style? Arrow pointing left/arrow pointing down Arrow pointing down/arrow pointing up Plus sign/minus sign … ...
14
votes
5answers
837 views

Do shapes connote differing degrees of hazard?

I'm working on designing an icon set and experimenting with a few different styles. One style would involve every icon being the same color. However, color is really good at differentiating things ...
14
votes
5answers
10k views

What is a good icon for illustrating expand (and collapse) all? [closed]

I'm trying to devise an icon to indicate that when it is clicked, it will collapse all the nodes in a tree. The tree contains profiles which already have an icon, so ideally I'm looking for a ...
14
votes
5answers
911 views

Show/Hide Password Icon - Eye/ Closed Eye? Is the “Eye” icon offensive to any cultures?

I am on a project where we are implementing show/hide password functionality, and after significant research I discovered the 'Open Eye'/ 'Closed Eye' to be fairly standard. Once this was implemented ...
13
votes
1answer
800 views

Using wheelchair symbol in CAPTCHAs?

More and more websites that use CAPTCHAs have started to cater for visually-impaired users who cannot solve a visual (text-based) CAPTCHA by providing an audio CAPTCHA. What I find bizarre is that ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

How to represent level of difficulty while selecting a game?

I am working on a menu to select from various (3) game variants shown from top to bottom, each variant offering different difficulty levels. The difficulty will be selected by swiping (touch input ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is everything becoming flatter? [duplicate]

Things in the design world seem to be getting flatter! I can produce infinite examples; iOS7, Windows 8 (and everything else in Windows 8), Pepsi, the Dropbox logo, even things outside the computer ...
12
votes
6answers
940 views

Icon for cancel action to distinguish from delete icon [closed]

I'm dealing with a space sensitive environment where I have a Save/Cancel actions that need to be icons. In the same area the user can also delete items, using something similar to the one in this ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

full-color icons vs. greyed-out icons in menus

Icons in menus are often full-color. Even though the page an icon/menu item controls is not active, the icon still appears in its normal hues. To distinguish the icon which is active, a designer will ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Do iOS / WP users recognize the Android share icon?

I've been assigned the task to add an icon / CTA to enable users to invite people to our application from their contact list. Due to width restriction, especially with localization, one of the ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Are 3D icons better than 2D?

I've seen an increase of 3D icons in the recent past. I am not convinced they are better. Instead they may actually be worse because space is taken up by the projection. Is there any evidence as to ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Multiple choice with Yes, No and 'No answer'

I am working on a Quiz Application for Multiple Choice question. Instead of normal Multiple Choice Questions with the two answers yes and no. I am working on one that allows a user to abstain to a ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Best practice for Navigation usability? [closed]

I'm currently working on a social network type system, and was wondering about the best practice for navigation. Would it be better to use Icons or Text? I was thinking a mixture, icons for some ...
11
votes
4answers
494 views

How to tell the user that an input box is autocomplete-enabled?

Is there a good graphical sign which tells the user that a particular field on the page is autocomplete enabled? For instance, the field name says "Document author". When you start typing in that ...
11
votes
2answers
626 views

Icon-only navigation bar for a desktop application?

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 ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Microsoft Visual Studio 11 - why would they use uppercase in UI?

Microsoft has been very transparent with their updates to Visual Studio 11. It includes a huge change to the UI design of the entire IDE, most notably colour themes, icons and capitlization. In their ...
10
votes
5answers
595 views

Icon for “Remove All” getting confused with “Remove” - how to fix? [closed]

Our application has a button to Remove (removes selected item) and Remove All. Currently the icons are right next to each other and look similar; therefore users accidentally have been clicking ...
10
votes
11answers
572 views

Showing which direction a value should go towards

I have an interesting UI challenge. I have a ratio that I am showing in two ways: one using a percentage surrounded by a circumference pie chart, and the other showing a status bar. In some cases a ...
10
votes
5answers
866 views

What symbols should be used for YES and NO when the user can't read?

This is a non trivial problem, as demonstrated by this blog entry. There are problems with all the obvious options: Check and X : we're already using that as "correct" and "incorrect" Thumbs ...
10
votes
1answer
602 views

What's a good alternative to flags for depicting internationalisation as an option?

Are flags a bad idea? In various comments on How to design a multi-language website?, several designers voiced their concern for the use of flags as a symbol to represent language switching on a ...
10
votes
5answers
546 views

Visualize a “reset” functionality in a toolbar icon [closed]

We have a 3D model viewer application. The user can scale, rotate and translate the model. We want to add a toolbar button that allows the user to bring the model back to the original position, scale ...
10
votes
1answer
116 views

Marking contact as primary?

Currently in the application that I am designing, we are displaying just a short amount of contact information, which means that if the contact has 4 different numbers (i.e. mobile,home,work,fax), ...