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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273
votes
20answers
19k 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? ...
162
votes
21answers
16k 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 ...
66
votes
6answers
11k 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
4k views
44
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?
43
votes
9answers
5k 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 ...
43
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
40
votes
11answers
5k 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 ...
38
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the origin of the eject symbol?

On the web, there is a lot of information about the Play, Pause, and other symbols, but I could find no information about the famous Eject symbol at all. The only source I could find was an article ...
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 ...
32
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 ...
27
votes
12answers
3k views

Will using “X” for both “close” and “remove” cause confusion

I'm working on a shopping cart design. I'm currently using "X" to mean both "close" and "remove" in the interface. As shown in screenshot below. Will this cause unnecessary confusion? For quick ...
25
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 ...
25
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
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
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
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? ...
23
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 ...
23
votes
10answers
914 views

Ways for a company to organize common/shared Icons Images and Graphics

Are there any common tools that are used to store Icons Images and graphics for a company wide audience? As a programmer I would store everything in git so people could update it and track the ...
21
votes
2answers
3k views

Why do websites use a graphic instead of the HTML entity `≡` for the menu icon? [closed]

Every time I see a website with a menu or a navigation bar, i see the three dash menu button?. And they always use an icon, .gif, .png etc... But there is an HTML entity for that: ≡ -> ...
20
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 ...
20
votes
5answers
4k 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. ...
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
8k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
5k 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 … ...
16
votes
9answers
13k 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 ...
16
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.
16
votes
7answers
3k 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
5answers
12k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
742 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
5answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Info Icon vs Question Mark

We're debating inside our team on whether to use a question mark icon, or an "i" icon for prompting a tooltip that reveals more info. Which do you say conveys the message better? Or, how do they ...
14
votes
5answers
1k 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
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 ...
14
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
832 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
7k views

Use up or down arrow to represent “sort ascending” at table header

To represent "sort ascending" (a -> b -> c -> ...) , my first sense told me that, I should use ↓ to represent it. This is because if I lay my data a b c It seems like thing is moving naturally ...
12
votes
6answers
990 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
4answers
6k views

The Hamburger Icon - menu or drag affordance?

There seems to be a difference in meaning for this icon emerging: For some it means 'menu', for others it represents 'draggable item' (in preference to the small dots used in GMail for instance). ...
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
532 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
690 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 ...