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?


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.

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  • 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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