I'm redesigning the UI of an online multiplayer game where the red and green colors already carry important meanings, thus they can't be used along with the orange to denote users who are "actively seeking a game", "not actively seeking but accepting a game" or "not accepting any game".
How about this?
Not accepting (clumsily painted over in paint.net, sorry):
The icons come from icon archive
My first thought was hand gestures - e.g. a "thumbs up" for availability (though that's offensive in some cultures). However, "actively seeking" vs. "not seeking but accepting" makes it hard to find something appropriate.
Next idea: Two interlocking rings:
Using an exclamation mark and question mark to suggest urgency and helplessness, and a checkmark for "I'm ok".
Is your UI such that you can use position as well as symbols to denote availabilty? You could use a filled circle for "actively seeking", a hollow circle for "not seeking but accepting" and an "X" for "not accepting". Then each could have it's own position, which would make it easier to recognize:
not accepting: --------------------- - - X not seeking but accepting: --------------------- - o - seeking and accepting: --------------------- * - -
It's simple, you use red, green and orange and a icon representative to the function.
You can give the other thing that uses the colors a different icon (if necessary), but simply having a unique icon that switches between those color states should be sufficient for visual distinction. Usability wise only the colors really deliver the message, so what icon you use is more a stylistic choice.
Like Hafiz, I think using established symbols would be most well known to the users. However, using check and cross marks might be preferred.
- !? - Accepting and seeking new games.
- ✓ - Accepting new games.
- x - Not accepting new games.
The downside of this is that check marks are not fully transcultural.
Did a quick Google search and got some icons from this link:
Not saying that should should put these up on your website, but if you look for icons on google, you'll be able to find something easily. Hope this helps