Hot answers tagged icons
Perhaps instead of unprofessional emoticons, you can use a simpler symbol to indicate a good or bad result. In this case, I used a tick and a cross: But since the indication is probably more important than the direction, we can place greater emphasis on the ticks and crosses: Note how the arrows are now smaller and faded towards the background colour, ...
You might be good just switching arrow directions (pardon the ASCII art): Read: arrow points away from the icon -> Write: arrow points towards the icon -> I'm basing the suggestion on the data flow direction (when reading, data "goes out", when writing data "goes in")
No, there are no standard colours used for "read from" or "write to". So other than choosing icons which are clear in the first place (those that you show are not), the important part is that you are consistent in your colours if you decide that you need to have different colours in the first place.
In testing I always find that users know few icons and end up having to learn what they mean. If I can I go with text. "History" is going to be much clearer, especially given the backwards arrow's association with refresh, back (as you mentioned), and also undo. Text can also be internationalized, avoiding a mismatch of associations with particular objects. ...
Your second icon is definitely better. It clearly communicates the idea of getting directions/navigation, which is what you want. I'm not familiar with Apple Maps, but a car is neither the symbol for Google Maps nor the symbol representing directions/navigation within Google Maps. The only thing it is used for is selecting the transportation mode in that ...
Cubase (digital audio workstation) uses red for writing and green for reading automation values (it also uses 'W' and 'R') BUT you should never rely on colour for indication of status - especially if you're using red and green! As has been pointed out in the comments, your icons are not clearly defined. Make sure they're easily readable in monochrome before ...
Take a look at the Nielson/Norman report on icons. It might resonate with your findings. This bit is your answer: "Always include a visible text label."
One thing to note in general, without considering implications of arrow cardinality or color: arrows that point straight up or down are confusing in general, since they can have multiple meanings: This row can be collapsed or expanded by clicking the arrow; This row can be moved up or down by clicking the arrow; This row has changed in value compared to ...
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