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So, in a nutshell, our platform gives people the chance to edit maps and data. These maps can be shared through a link with other people (or embedded) with the use of some templates we created. We have had the share function ('Share this map') for some time now. But we're thinking of expanding the function by giving users the option to see a list of which maps have been shared, to whom and with which template. And also giving them the opportunity to (de)activate shares.

Here's an image:

enter image description here

We've used the one-to-many share icon for the old function to share the current map. But I'd like to add a different page at the top op de menu where users can see all their current shares.

My question is: I don't know which (Google) icons to use for both functions. And can I use the same icon for both functions? They do show the same type of content, only different parts of it.

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    Since I'm no expert, just a comment; would it be possible to show a "stack" of shares in that icon, like you do with "Maps" in the first item? Showing it's a multiple of shares might hint it'll open a list of - well, shares. – Ray May 28 '18 at 16:47
  • I agree completely with Ray Koopa, and would suggest extending the "stack" idea to the other "my XXX" options. So whenever the user sees a stack of something, they know the items are "mine". – Dawood ibn Kareem May 28 '18 at 19:51
  • @RayKoopa That's a very interesting idea! At the moment, we just use the Google Icons font for our icons, so it's not possible to use custom icons like this. But I'm gonna give it a go and see what I can come up with and see if we can start adding custom icons instead – Caitlin May 29 '18 at 6:53
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My first thought was to use similar icons but to differentiate "My Shares" like this:

enter image description here

Then I read this NN Group article, which said:

Just last week, we reported our usability study of a website that employs a clock icon in its main navigation bar. While the graphic itself was easily recognizable as a clock, the meaning of the icon was completely obscure because it was a non-standard use of the concept of a clock or watch: the clock icon is used to symbolize navigation history and opens a drawer with the most recent pages that the user had visited. Not a single test participant clicked this icon. Obscure icon = wasted feature.

So I was hesitant about recommeding my icon. But as they further say:

To help overcome the ambiguity that almost all icons face, a text label must be present alongside an icon to clarify its meaning in that particular context.

Which means that it should be possible to use it, or even the same icon as you suggested, but the label has to be very clear. Maybe "My Previous Shares" instead of "My Shares"? Together with the suggested icon it should be very clear.


Further reading:

  • Thanks for the informing answer! An article by NN Group was actually the reason why I chose to use labels in the first place. I'm gonna think about changing the label and keeping the icon the same – Caitlin May 28 '18 at 12:42
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    Not to be nitpicky, but shouldn't the arrow in the icon be the other way? Like, go back in time? Otherwise, I like the idea! – Karl-André Gagnon May 28 '18 at 17:27
  • @Karl-AndréGagnon Haha absolutely! I just picked the first clock icon I could find on Google images. – Big_Chair May 28 '18 at 21:18
  • I'd suggest labelling it as "Sharing history" or "Shared by me". The arrow should go in the other direction like in Material history icon, maybe just using this icon would be an option, when with proper label? – Frax May 30 '18 at 12:02

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