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".

  • Just a side note: remember that colorblind users might not be able to see the difference between the red and green you're using. You might want to look into that. – TomvB Mar 9 '11 at 15:44
  • That's right, they can be changed but they are the default. Talking about this, how do impaired drivers differentiate stop lights ?! – WaterBearer Mar 10 '11 at 0:42
  • The colors in stop lights are designed to be easily recognizable by the color blind. And they're always in the same place; red up top, green always at the bottom. – TomvB Mar 10 '11 at 15:04

How about this?

Seeking Seeking

Accepting Accepting

Not accepting (clumsily painted over in paint.net, sorry): not accepting

The icons come from icon archive

  • I like this idea since it's a strategy game. I could even add a black pawn to show that a player is busy playing. – WaterBearer Mar 9 '11 at 15:35

I think simple tick, exclamation and cross marks can serve this better in their respective colors that is gree, orange, and red.

Or you can use emoction like things , forexample: :) for available :| don't know :( No

So there can be many more such ways while you should take care of colors.

  • Like. Maybe :/ for 'available? – peterchen Mar 9 '11 at 9:24
  • Yah , any thing with smiling that feels like yes, accepted and happy because if some one is struggling for some thing, then a smiling face can tell him/her that yes now you are on the right place – Hafiz Mar 9 '11 at 14:00
  • However in some cultures some people don't feel good to some specific symbols and it is also true that one can't each and every person in the world so what you should use also depends on your target users. – Hafiz Mar 14 '11 at 8:24
  • I would guess that this is less of a problem for the given scenario, as the target audience for online multiplayer games is probably younger and more exposed to international culture. – peterchen Mar 14 '11 at 8:45
  • @peterchen yes you are right but still there are some religious people who are even biased about symbols but for majority this is completely fine because we can't make impressed everyone by our icons, but we can fulfill our goal using them – Hafiz Mar 14 '11 at 11:08

Just a strange idea that sprang to my mind for some reason - maybe two open eyes for seeking, one open and one closed for accepting, and two closed eyes for not accepting? Or some variation on this - like two open, two closed, and blindfolded?

  • Much better than my idea :) – peterchen Mar 9 '11 at 9:25

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:

Actively Seeking Accepting

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:


enter image description here

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

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