We are currently testing a product with two consoles: An 'op' console and an admin console.

The op console uses trash can icon symbol to delete something and the admin console uses same trash can icon to deactivate (not delete). While these have different functionality for the same icon, it's extremely unlikely that user would use both the op console and the admin console.

Is it a problem to use the same icon to mean two separate actions in this case? (Note that the tool tip clarifies the icon usage in each case.)

1 Answer 1


If you are sure that both environments won't be used by a single user then I imagine it would not cause issues. However, to me a trash can is not very intuitive for "deactivate" anyway. I would recommend simply changing the icon to something more representative of "disable" such as a slashed circle or a lock (depending on what deactivating something accomplishes). This way you avoid the potential confusion if a user has permissions to access both, and you get a more intuitive admin interface.

  • I would agree that the use of the trash can is somewhat dubious here and should probably be changed to something more along the lines of the process of 'deactivation', rather than deletion or throwing out which is what the icon implies Jun 18, 2015 at 22:40

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