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I'm designing an educational Android application, and thus I have icon buttons in my AppBar which have functions like "show answer of the test".

Since there is no default user-used button for this, unlike for "edit this item" function, I think I could either use a custom button Icon, or use the help button Icon.
Anyway, the user won't know at first sight that the function exists except if he has the curiosity to test every buttons, which I think is not the best way.

How can I let the user know about those functions ?

So far I could only think about making a tutorial, but this would take a very long time in my case and is not planned for the moment.

  • Why exactly can't you use text below button? And also there is an edit button (it looks like a pen) – Kitanga Nday Nov 22 '17 at 13:37
  • @KitangaNday I know about the edit button, my problem is more about the "correct" button. Those buttons are actually icons in the Android AppBar, so there is no space to put text. – Dan Chaltiel Nov 22 '17 at 14:05
  • I see, but think about what "correcting" is, isn't it not editing? – Kitanga Nday Nov 22 '17 at 14:16
  • Uses will understand that if I'm changing something here and it hasn't been given in, then I'm, editing. But, if I'm changing something here and I already know the answer, then I'm correcting. It's all about context. – Kitanga Nday Nov 22 '17 at 14:18
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    Sorry this may be lost in translation. Correction (for me) is when you want to know the answer of a test. The button just show up the answer in a reserved place. Maybe it is clearer after my edit. – Dan Chaltiel Nov 22 '17 at 14:25
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Icons/drawing are very susceptive to cultural bias. There are some universally recognized signs, but not that many.

People have to learn them, and this is the advantage of using a popular design language like material design. There is a higher chance users already know some of the conventions, like the three little dots to open an overflow.

So, no matter what icon you choose, it comes with the risk of not being recognized and tapped.

Your safest choice is text, language is less abstract than a sign most of the time. I know the app bar comes with real estate constraints, so this is not something that works for you.

If you want to stick with the app bar for this action, I reccommend adding this action as text, in the overflow menu of the app bar. The android user has a higher chance of tapping that instead of an unrecognized symbol.

You can also move away from the app bar and add this action as a flat or raised button in the content of the page. It is not sticky, but it could work if positioned in the right place.

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If it's that important why not have a tooltip show up announcing what this little button does (Have it say something like "Click here to check answer").

You can even save the timestamp of when the user last saw this, so that if they haven't opened the app in say a month, you have the tooltip show up again.

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Have you thought about labeling your button icons?

For Android, just create an icon in Illustrator or Photoshop with text and import to your project in the resources file. Use that image as the button imageview: onclick...

Not every user knows what the function is of all of the default or Google material icons.

For example:

enter image description here

The combination of icon and text can work in harmony if done properly. The icon itself brings the attention towards the action,and the text is small, yet large enough so the user knows what the button does straight away. It is all about leaving sufficient triggers for the users to make actions, if the trigger is not sufficient then the action will probably not be carried out.

My advice is, if you choose this method, is to keep the text very simple, one word only.

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