I'm working on an application where users have a list of items to be reminded of (short explanation, but good enough). Users can pause items that they don't want to be reminded of, but they also need to be able to "un-pause" paused items.

The icons are simple for upause (the standard play icon), but play doesn't represent what a user is doing. Activate would, but I think it a little too technospeak for the average user.

Any suggestions on a better term (or even icon)?

Edit: the item could start out being paused as it's default situation (i.e. never having been active before)


I think the problem is that "pause" is not the right term for stopping. If you are ruling out "activate", then maybe you have to use more descriptive terms like "Remind" and "Don't Remind". But I think you need to rethink exactly the functioning and find words that make perfect sense in the context.

  • 8
    Agreed that pause isn't quite right. How about Suspend / Resume ?
    – PhillipW
    Sep 5 '11 at 20:13
  • Yes that might work - Resume is a better word, and Suspend goes with it. The purpose is to find the words that reflect the process. If you find that, you will find your pair. Sep 5 '11 at 20:36
  • I agree with PhillipW, Suspend and resume sounds a lot more clear. The word pause implies some sort of movement (like a tape is running, a disk is spinning,...). Sep 6 '11 at 6:17
  • SC: Good point. I was probably stuck on pause as that is the icon being used, but there isn't really a solid reason to use it. @PhillipW: Love the suggestion. I think that solves the naming issue for me.
    – JohnGB
    Sep 6 '11 at 10:32

Maybe "resume" will do. As for an icon I think a "play" icon is just fine.

  • Good suggestion, but wouldn't resume imply that it was previously active?
    – JohnGB
    Sep 5 '11 at 19:19
  • You didn't specify that an item could start out paused... but well in that case "activate reminder" and "deactivate reminder" would be my bet.
    – thwd
    Sep 5 '11 at 19:24

How about "mute" and "unmute"?


Google Adwords uses Paused and Enabled for ad groups. That could work for you too.

  • Great suggestion. I will definitely add it to the ones we are testing out with users.
    – JohnGB
    Sep 8 '11 at 10:36

Not sure which icon would work best, but would "Reminder: On" and "Reminder: Off" not more adequately explain the purpose of the icon?

Maybe just a clock with/without a strike-through of some sort to denote its off/on status.


set reminder and clear reminder

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