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So I'm going through a legacy product trying to establish some standards and one of the things I'm noticing is that there a ton of different icons for viewing things.

Is it better to have ONE "view" icon for everything? Or should the icon be tailored to each specific case (they use font awesome), which can be tricky because there isn't always an appropriate icon.

For example, we have:

  • View Record (generic list icon)
  • View History (generic grid icon)
  • View Template (plus sign, I don't know why)
  • View Pledge (generic list icon)
  • View all batches (magnifying glass with plus sign)
  • View all status updates (magnifying glass with plus sign)
  • View Linked Record (eye)

Often these icons reside in a table column as well, so there can't be a lot of descriptive text. What is considered best practice/standard for this sort of thing?

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It is better to have a tailored icon for each case. The icon should support the user to identify what a link or button does.
For example "+" add something, "trash" delete something, ...
If you use the same icon for each view the user can only identify the result or action by reading.
Of course Font Awesome does not cover everything. If you can not find an icon for a view you should create one your own or search somewhere else, i recommend thenounproject.com


Further reading:
https://www.nngroup.com/articles/icon-usability/
https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/10/icons-as-part-of-a-great-user-experience/

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