I've got two buttons the user will click to indicate whether a stimulus is the same or different

Currently I'm using = (U+003D) and ≠ (U+2260, = with a diagonal line through it).

Is there a more universal icons/symbol for that?

  • Who's your audience? There are mathematical symbols you could use, but I suspect your design will need to educate people about what each symbol means (e.g. having the symbol next to the word, and having a tooltip on the symbol).
    – Peter
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 21:27
  • 3
    While it certainly depends on context, note that 'equals' doesn't always mean 'the same'. If you are OK with icons, off the top of my head: 2 circles same color (= same); 1 circle, 1 square, different colors (= different)
    – DA01
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 21:44
  • from a programmers point of view how about == for SAME and != for DIFFERENT
    – Linger
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 5:23
  • 1
    Actually from a programmer's point of view, === means same. Two equals signs simply tests equality of value, not identity. (Of course, some languages confuse the two concepts) Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 6:03
  • 2
    @AndrewLeach: that is very much language specific Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 11:06

1 Answer 1


I'm convinced these are the only universal symbols. There are no other similar symbols in Unicode. I.e. any other symbol with the same meaning is so obscure that it doesn't even occur in Unicode. There is (U+2261) identical and (U+2262) not identical, but those are understood to be variants of = and ≠.

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