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A website I'm building requires both the ability to search and the ability to magnify (scale the rendering of the video player). Both of these action are traditionally iconized with a magnifying glass. I'm concerned that using the same icon for two different actions, even in different contexts (yet on the same page) will be confusing. What are my options?

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You could do the magnifying glass for magnify & binoculars for search. If you added a + with the magnifying glass, that may help distinguishing its function.

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You first need to ask yourself if you really need two icons. If you don't, just using text that says 'search' is a possible solution.

Also, it is about context...if their is a magnifying glass on an image, humans very quickly understand it's function, if next to text, it is search.

Your best solution: Have the zoom icon only show on hover of an image, so the revealing animation gives a strong context clue as to it's function.

This should separate the function of the search, and the function of zoom.

  • It is good to remember on touch devices there is no hover, so something else needs to be done for those. – pathfinder Mar 29 '14 at 20:28
  • ah, good point. Totally disregarded touch devices. Maybe on the tap event it shows? – michaelghinrichs Mar 29 '14 at 21:03

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