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I'm trying to design an app interface.

The app functionalities are:

  • show a map
  • start a tour (play button). It starts tracking the route, kms/miles and time
  • play some audio (another play button). All the usual functionalities of an audio player.

Issue here is that I don't know which could be the right practice to have multiple (two) play button in the same interface. How to avoid confusion and placing them correctly?

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    Can you show what your interface looks like? I wonder what you have along with each play button, and if they're sufficiently self-explanatory. Multiple play buttons are okay as long as they're next to what they're associated with and it is properly identified. Jan 6, 2023 at 16:06

2 Answers 2

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It seems that you're working on some kind of map or tour application, so I'll base my answer on this assumption, please comment if this isn't the case.

According to Gestalt Law of Proximity:

The Law of Proximity is the gestalt grouping law that states elements that are close together tend to be perceived as a unified group. This straightforward law states that items close to each other tend to be grouped together, whereas items further apart are less likely to be grouped together.

The Law of Similarity is the gestalt grouping law that states that elements that are similar to each other tend to be perceived as a unified group. Similarity can refer to any number of features, including color, orientation, size, or indeed motion. In simple words: If the buttons aren't very far apart, they're considered part of the same set and therefore have a high cognitive load.

Based on this (among other considerations that are more subjective), I think you should associate the icons more with the concept of the app. For example, you could use a walking person, like Google Maps does

walking icon

If it's an audio feature, I'd also consider an audio icon. Play button is extremely ambiguous (you want to use it for two completely different things, and we haven't even started on video yet!) Something like this could work:

audio icon

Please note that I'm not talking about these exact icons, just giving you suggestions.

As for color background for these buttons, I'd make sure they're different to improve familiarity for returning users. And of course, each button should be labeled for accessibility.

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One quick suggestion is to match the color of the play buttons with Map and Music interfaces respectively.

Also, assuming you don't have any restriction of icon use, you can opt different icons altogether like: For example: MAP and Music

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