Consider a typical video-editing style timeline:

There's the usual Play button: a right arrow.

There's the usual Pause button: two bars.

         >  ||

However, I want to have a "Play, but from beginnning" button.

When you want to "play, but from the beginning" you have to: bring the slider to the beginning, before hitting play. That is annoying. It would be better if there was a "play, but from the beginning" button.

What should the symbol be?

Help me out gang!

Lame idea from non-designer...

enter image description here

Does that get anyone thinking? It's not really very good: the one on the left probably suggests "cycle around in some sense" It's hard to express "go back to the frickin' beginning and then Play"!

Complication: most editors additionally have a "Play, but fullscreen" concept, yet another play-related button.

Bonus: If there's a keyboard, space-bar usually toggles Play/Pause. Is there a good keyboard UX for "Play from beginning"?

  • 11
    The Noun Project: “Replay”
    – Crissov
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 19:59
  • For me "Replay" is a different concept than "Move scrubber to start, and Play". It's tricky!
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 20:33
  • Logic uses the return key to "return" to the start of the song. From memory, Sonar uses the "w" key. I used to say "wewind" to remind me... Return makes more sense, to me. Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 5:02
  • Good thinking on Return ... but that more says "go to start" to me, rather than "go to start, and, play"... great info thx
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 12:15
  • 2
    Whatever the chosen solution, it needs verification by user testing. My best guess is that a dedicated visual control isn’t necessary and all suggested icons will be either opaque or misleading/ambiguous to some actual users, even if they’re accustomed to AV editing software GUIs. (I remember Cool Edit, for instance, where the usual triangle played just the current selection and there was a circled one for playing the whole track.) I think you’re better off if you make playing a state instead of play/pause an action, or you provide a power-user feature through long tap / double click / …
    – Crissov
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 22:49

22 Answers 22


I agree with many around here that it is possibly best to stick with the icons that are so common for media players.

However I understand the problem you try to solve. Mixing both icons could be a nice solution. But as always; testing is knowing!

My attempt for a possible mix:
enter image description here

And to emphasize that it starts from the beginning...

Add a line:
enter image description here

Or use different alignment:
enter image description here

Indeed you only need this:

enter image description here

  • 1
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 14:44
  • 2
    I note also that, simply repeating the Play icon, but having it at the left edge, may be the very best solution! So, there's the usual group of three "in the middle", BUT the dual-function button under discussion here is simply at the left edge of the scrubber. Oh wow. Facepalm --- so obvious once you say it.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 14:46
  • @JoeBlow A second play button can be confusing, I would make the one on the left at least a bit different just to highlight they are not exactly the same. Or if resume playing is used rarely you can remove the middle button entirely.
    – jazZRo
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 21:32
  • Right - there should be a small arrow or something, from the left-play button.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 21:53
  • @JoeBlow, you're welcome and thank you for the reward!
    – jazZRo
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 20:12


I would suggest that the play button stays the same as it always has - a triangle to begin then a pause once playback begins. But, once playback has started, a new button appears like this:

enter image description here

The circle encapsulating the easily recognisable play triangle is pointing in an intuitive direction: anti-clockwise, implying that we are going back in time. The button as a whole still means play but we use the arrow to infer a different meaning.

enter image description here


As suggested by JoeBlow in the comments below, here is a second version using a semi-circle shape to "jump" back to the start:

enter image description here

I like the idea here, but as has been remarked it might look a little odd centering the icon vertically. But given the correct context, I think its pretty clear what it is representing as per the following example:

enter image description here


Here is one more example that draws from a previous effort...

enter image description here

...but wasn't well received:

enter image description here

The evolution of the previous version to this one looks a lot like one of Crissov's examples in his answer, which again adds weight to the representation of this design.

enter image description here


Here's one last example that places the controls on the timeline. Its a bit of fun more than anything else, but the icons flow with the timeline, interrupt the timeline or redirect it. It is quite a departure from normal conventions, but an enjoyable thought experiment nonetheless.

enter image description here

Example Usage

KRyan in the comments asked for a usage scenario so here is an example mocked up with YouTube.

This is how the video interface looks before a video starts playing:

enter image description here

Once the video starts playing the Play button we see above changes to a pause button. I'm proposing that an additional button (once playback starts) could slide in, allowing you to jump back to the beginning. Like this:

enter image description here

  • 8
    That semi-circle arrow button is outstanding!
    – Dmiters
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 18:15
  • 10
    While from a pure logical standpoint the half-circle play button makes more sense than the full-circle youtube version or full-circle play button at the top of this answer, I believe the full-circle is more intuitive as it is tried and true and used in many applications to mean restart. Not saying the half circle couldn't work but this may be a situation where not reinventing the wheel (or circle) is better.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 18:28
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 21:14
  • 3
    V1 is pretty good. V2 is OK. V3 is confusing! It looks like some combination of "Eject" (due to the triangle-and-bar icon) and "Play and loop continuously" (due to the oval being connected to the arrow tip and tail). Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 7:14
  • I've seen v3 or something a lot like that on tape-decks.
    – Mast
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 10:37

IEC 60417 is a standard for symbols to put on electrical devices (TVs, VCRs, washing machines, MRIs etc.) and ISO 7000 collects these. Each costs around 100 bucks, but there is a free preview PDF. It’s the closest I could find that would standardize the common playback controls like play ▶️, pause ⏸, play/pause ⏯, stop ⏹, fast forward ⏩, rewind ⏪, skip/next ⏭, prev ⏮, record ⏺. It covers all of these and more.

The standard even offers two variants for many of the media control icons. Alas, the symbols in actual use are rather a mix of both, e.g. the equivalent of playback in the standard #5107A/B: Normal run; Normal speed is either an arrow with a hollow equilateral triangle as head ⇾ or a filled isosceles triangle ►, whereas commonly a filled equilateral triangle ▶ is used (all pointing right).

⇾ or ►

Likewise, the symbol ↪️ #5125 Recapitulate has two variants A/B:

and ↪︎

They both follow the example of #5862 Previous; Play previous part, which looks quite distinct from ⏭ #5861 Next; Play next part:

↪| vs. ⏭

Those come both in a single variant, but are based upon the different Normal run variants. Standards – go figure.

I obviously don’t recommend to follow standards blindly, especially when they obviously have been adapted with a bit of freedom by the industry. (Other parts of the standards are followed slavishly in respective areas, though.) Also, as I’ve shown, the standard symbols don’t seem to be consistent all the time.

My actual suggestion would be to use an #5459 Eject symbol ⏏ turned a quarter-circle clock-wise, filled or hollow as fits the visual scheme. Reasoning: The vertical bar on the left then indicates an earlier cue mark, which is the start of the current track by default. There’s a similar IEC symbol #5471 Frame by frame, general with two thin lines. Note that the more familiar variant of ⏸ #5111B Pause; Interruption is just as hollow as the triangles (or the Stop square).

⏏ ⤵︎ turned eject: replay, play again, play from start, recapitulate⏸▶️⏸

PS: The ISO/IEC 9995-7 standard symbol for the Home key is ⇱.

Related standards

I didn’t actually review any of these in detail, but provide them for reference:

  • ISO/IEC 18035 Icon symbols and functions for controlling multimedia software applications This one seems very appropriate, in section 6 it specifies:
    1. Dynamic media controls (Play, Stop, Pause, Replay, Play backward, Scan forward, Scan backward, Fast forward, Rewind, Step forward, Step backward, Record)
    2. Attributes of dynamic media controls (Loop, Set volume, Mute, Speaker on)
    3. Navigation controls (Go to … beginning, previous state / visited presentation segment / media object, next presentation segment within the application / media object within the composite media object, end / exit)
    4. Additional controls (Main menu, Eject, Help, Snapshot, Save)
  • ISO 14915-2 Software ergonomics for multimedia user interfaces — Part 2: Multimedia navigation and control This standard is more about the concepts than the symbols.

More general ones:

  • ISO/IEC 11581-1, -6 User system interfaces and symbols — Icon symbols and functions — Part 1: Icons — General Not about multimedia control, this standard deals with common icons for office and generic applications, e.g. Open, Save, Print, Bold.
  • ISO 14915-1 Software ergonomics for multimedia user interfaces — Part 1: Design principles and framework
  • ISO 9241-12, -13, -16 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs)
    • Part 12: Presentation of information
    • Part 13: User guidance
    • Part 16: Direct manipulation dialogues

Examples from actual products

Apple Logic Pro X Microsoft Powerpoint for Mac (presenter view) Adobe Premiere Pro
(source: adobe.com)

  • 1
    This is absolutely incredible info.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 0:05
  • Do we know what Recapitulate means? If I try to translate the symbol, for me it means: "Run from the end to the beginning and then keep running and finally stop where we are now" Is that right????
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 0:06
  • 1
    @JoeBlow As it turns out, there’s a shop for individual symbols which has previews and further info: “To identify the control or the indicator which permits rapid access within a recorded programme to repeat the section which has just been played.”
    – Crissov
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 8:07
  • 2
    Westheimer’s Discovery: “A couple of months in the laboratory can frequently save a couple of hours in the library” and I’d like to add “… or a few minutes around the water cooler.”
    – Crissov
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 11:35
  • Ah - recapitulation - interesting. So, not really "go to start; play"... (unless, you just did that! :) )
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 12:04

you can use a restart / reset button, here's an example from YouTube, the leftmost button enter image description here

  • Hmmm! Thanks - crap, I don't know if I like that symbol. For me it means "loop" or something .... tricky one ...
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 14:00
  • What is a "restart / reset button" ?
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 14:01
  • @JoeBlow the leftmost button in the picture
    – ThaSaleni
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 14:04
  • I've got you now -- you know, I don't know if that symbol is a success! For me it means something like "loop". For example, say we are at 30% and paused. For me that button means "play from 30% in a loop and go around until you get to 30% again and stop". It does not mean, for my mind, "go back to the start, then, play to the end". It's not a good symbol, to my thinking!
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 15:13
  • 9
    @JowBlow That's a fair assessment, but my hunch is that the majority of people would not come that conclusion. The idea of that button meaning "loop from the beginning back to the current time repeatedly" sounds like something a more technical person would think of. That doesn't mean it's wrong, just a hunch.
    – Nathan K
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:44

Traditionally, the 'previous button' is used. 1 click returns to the beginning of the clip, and a double click goes to the beginning of the previous clip. Holding could also jog back.

Previous Button

  • Hi Sameul - for me that icon means "move to beginning". What I want is, say we are paused at 40%, I want a DOUBLE action .. "move to beginning" AND "and then Play". BTW that's a great "iconic" example of "move to the beginning" .. did you find that somewheres or make it?
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 21:45
  • @JoeBlow It looks like the one from Spotify. I was just about to post it as an alternate solution. Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 22:15
  • 1
    @JoeBlow As a user, I would be surprised if this button stopped playing the video. The onyl case I would expect it to not do so is if I had explicitly paused the media (which I consider to be a special case where I have explicit set the state and the player is honoring that). Why would I want the media to stop just because I threw it back to the beginning?
    – jpmc26
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 22:31
  • Indeed! I want a new button that means, and you're probably currently paused, "go to start; and then Play"
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 22:33
  • 4
    @JoeBlow Sounds very non-standard. How much value does that button provide over simply letting them unpause it after moving back to the beginning? Because it's going to cost screen space and the user is going to have to think more about all the options they have.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 22:35

Play .. play from "where the head is now". We're still in edit concept.

You need to use the icon that has to toggle between pause and play, something like this

However, I want to have a "Play, but from beginnning" button.

Try this icon for simply restarting from the beginning. enter image description here

Try .. Leave edit concept (so, things could happen like "widgets disappear from screen" "we go to full screen" or whatever), and play from beginning to end; at end, likely revert to edit concept.

If something has been edited, just show a checkbox Check this to save on Play. If user doesn't select it, then changes will be lost.

  • Good point to combine play-pause. With the circle-arrow ---- that's two votes! Maybe I'm wrong! I don't like it for some reason guys!! :O
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 15:08
  • @JoeBlow Sorry, but your comment is bit confusing. Did you liked the icon or not? and why? Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 17:19
  • hi man ... I'm not a fan of the "circle-arrow" to mean "go to beginning, and play". Note my long comments on this, in the other answers... (Your answer is excellent, I'm just not a fan of that icon)
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 17:21
  • @JoeBlow I have updated the image, please check it out. I disagree though that circle-arrow is bad, since I think it does the job on Youtube pretty convincingly. Though this new android one is better. Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 17:42
  • You know, I don't like the youtube one!! to me it means "loop", or something. (Indeed it took me ages to figure out what it meant when it appeared on youtube back when: to be clear, when i asked this question I had clean forgotten about it.)
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 18:13

How about this.. It shows 00:00 , meaning the beginning of the clip. This probably IMO is easiest to understand for a general user.. without using loop symbols etc.

enter image description here

Edited based on comment from Crissov.

  • Triangle pointing left conventionally means play at single speed in reverse direction in media control buttons.
    – Crissov
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 19:46
  • 1
    CLEVER. could there just be a "zero" in there maybe. VERY CLEVER IDEA
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 20:34
  • Sure. I thought about zero only.. as display. But 00:00 made more sense and users might relate more to that I felt.
    – PK2016
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:02
  • 1
    An icon with that sort of detail would only work well at large sizes. It would not translate well to a smaller icon.
    – Nathan K
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:45
  • The idea here is "play triangle with something in it". Could it be something ELSE in it? Like "play triangle with a small left-arrow in it" say? It's a great idea to put something IN the play triangle, IMO.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 0:07

As this is a take on the skip back control which is a standard media playing control. You could incorporate a progressive disclosure icon into that skip backwards icon. When held the additional options would appear.


  • When single clicked the main action would initiate i.e. normal skip to start and would stay paused if currently paused.
  • When tap/clicked and held down, a menu of additional options would appear which would include your skip back and play option. You then hover across and release on your option of choice or tap if touch screen.

Rest state:

enter image description here

When held down:

enter image description here


This little arrow in the corner can be seen in programs like Photoshop/Illustrator. I've also seen it in Apple Xcode on the Run app button, when held Test, Profile and Analyse also appear as options. As Run is the predominant action in Xcode this has the main prominence, the other 3 actions are less common but still accessible when clicked and held.

  • this is a GREAT suggestion - I never thought about incorporating the "context menu corner arrow" in this issue ....
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 12:35

So many good ideas here... I think the most intuitive ones incorporate the concept of the scrubber/timeline combined with the play button. Here's my take:

play button and scrubber

EDIT: A refined version...

enter image description here

This is a fascinating exercise. Great question.

  • ah hah! that is the only really "diagrammatically correct" icon!!!
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 21:47
  • For the "other" Ply ("play from where I am now), you could actually have a dynamic icon which moves the head marker to where you are now. Sweet.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 12:56
  • I feel this is the only icon concept mentioned that literally includes the notion "head position, start"
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 12:57
  • I feel this is the hugely ingenious "icon concept"; and PK2016 is ingenious for raising the "inside-icon-qualifiers" concept (à la Apple); and the answer by jazZRo is just brilliant (it has that "so obvious once you think of it" quality!)
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 14:40

After reading some of the comments and answers and realising you want this button to skip to the start and start playing even if paused I realised maybe youre trying to invent a control that isnt necessarily needed by the majority of users (an assumption) and also would add more elements to the UI and potentially cause confusion and clutter.

From my experience when you are currently PAUSED and you use a skip control, the media will not automatically begin playing after skipping.

So an alternative idea is to offer an option in a settings area on your UI to turn auto play on/off. Therefore users that might benefit from the autoplay after skipping function can turn this on, and users that want a conventional skip and DON'T autoplay can have it turned off. And everyone gets to use a standard media playing UI without a brand new control that could cause confusion to some users if its unrecognisable.

Example (in settings):

enter image description here

  • I definitely like this idea, and would normally do it, but, I'm saying that specifically in this editing suite, it's a fact that users commonly need both "Play" and "put head at start and also play with this one combined button" (and indeed a conventional "just return to start" button) ....
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 12:55

In products that play multiple items (videos, songs, etc.), you often have skip buttons, with icons like these:

|< >|

In theory, these are used to navigate between items.

In practice, skip backwards more often means "go to the beginning of the current item, and if we're already there, go to the beginning of the previous item instead." You could eliminate the "if we're already there" part and just use it for "go to the beginning."

  • By all means, |< or sometimes << means go back to the extreme left of the scrubber. (Of course, sometimes << and >> mean, "skim" aka "fast forward".) In fact, I would usually have a button that says just that, "Go back to the extreme left and just sit there.". But what I am looking for is "Go back to the extreme left, and then go ahead an Play - to save me clicking two separate buttons!*
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 20:50
  • @JoeBlow: I've seen some products immediately start playing after you skip back. I've seen others remain paused. I don't think this is well-established one way or the other, so you might be able to get away with this.
    – Kevin
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 20:51
  • OK, TBC I will have a "skip to left end and do nothing" button (also "skip to right end and do nothing"), and of course Play, AND I want to have "skip to left end, and, also Play"
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:00
  • 2
    @JoeBlow: You may want to ask yourself whether the increased convenience is worth the increased complexity. Those buttons are very similar in functionality, and you may have a cognitive load problem if you provide a lot of similar but not quite identical buttons throughout your interface. But if this is the only instance, it may be fine.
    – Kevin
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:53
  • Hi Kevin ..I absolutely agree with you. Normally I trade "slightly more clicks" for "far greater simplicity". Indeed, I'm a great believe in the "new" approach of "more and simpler buttons". I can't stand paging through menus and stuff. Anyway, in this particular case only, yes, for professional use of a scrubber in a visual editor, where, you particularly need to do the double-function I describe, very often.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 22:03

I think that my idea may give you a little different view of this button.

Basically, my idea is very similar to the v1 of Chris Spittles's version, but the button should contain the progress bar (e.g. when you are around 50% of the progress, the button should look like in v2, but when you reach 90-95% of progress, it should look like in V1.

Of course, when you play the video, the progress bar "around" the rewind-and-play button should also be changing to mimic the current state of the progress bar. When the user notices the button for the first time, he/she may be a little confused but when he/she sees the button later, with a part of the circle around the play button, it should be very clear what is the function of the button. Plus, we get a nice "repeat" button at the end of the video :)

The "visual" part (all credits belong to Chris Spittles):

50% of the playback:

50% of playback

95% of the playback:

95% of playback

  • 1
    Maybe it's just me but I don't think I'd ever pick up on the subtleties of the arrow length without further explanation, and if further explanation is required anyways then it doesn't really matter what symbol you use.
    – Jason C
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 15:13

I would suggest the above or something similar to:


"Start at the beginning and play." Or:

enter image description here

Edit: I realize this could be interpreted in ways that you might not want.

Update: I did an image search on "play from beginning icon" and saw some of the samples from this page, but also an example using a bar like this:

enter image description here

Here the Play button could toggle between play and pause, while the first button will always play from the beginning.

These examples are from a set of icons called Diagona Icons Copyright (C) 2007 Yusuke Kamiyamane but I did modify the "play from beginning" button to suit this example.

  • The turned Eject symbol definitely has been used for this function, but in Adobe Premiere Pro it actually means Step Forward.
    – Crissov
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 23:01
  • Right - it's annoying that it suffers ambiguous usage.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 22:05
  • It's a good thing no one piece of software is the definitive authority on icons and their meaning. Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 17:49

Joining the brainstorm... I feel this should be more of a comment to some of the previous ideas. Borrowing from music notation and the general idea of the beginning of a score:

G-key with trianlge

Or, more correct maybe but less recognizable (Da capo):

capo sign with triangle

[ edit [

Or even with the 'real' note bar?

capo sign with triangle and 5 lines

In my opinion, the second one works strongest and connects best to previous ideas.

  • Wow. What a clever idea. Perhaps, should it be more like "start of the staff" (kind of like an E with five lines?)
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 12:54
  • It's almost as if musical notations were made for this! Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 20:04
  • 1
    I think the last item here is the most innovative on the page!
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 22:06

To answer the keyboard UX question, HOME is often used to go to the beginning of a media clip. So then it would be HOME SPACE to skip to the beginning and play.

  • now that's bloody clever. however is there anything that is more one-time, maybe command-space??
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:50
  • Perhaps a function key? In windows, I might expect F5 or something. Not sure on OS X.
    – TScott
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 22:55
  • i would suggest alt + space on OS X Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 15:54


Opening bracket [ for the beginning, ► for playing.

Also, there's a Home button on most keyboards that does what you'd expect.

  • 1
    Many video editors work on a mac, and most macs these days have the smaller keyboard that doesn't have a home button. This of course may not be an important consideration for the software (Windows only environment, user demographics suggest that they have full-size keyboards etc.)
    – Nathanael
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 11:25
  • 1
    google says shortcut for Home key is Fn+← Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 11:30
  • man, that's a clever icon.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 15:02
  • 100 points (to a new user right?) for an incredibly valuable suggestion. Note too, RickHenderson's similar suggestion, also excellent.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 15:09
  • it would be cool if some of the designers on here, or user13, edited in some "designy" versions of this! it's an amazing idea to use the " [ " which is used in many contexts to mean back (eg, browsers) or "start of" as a general written concept.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 15:11

The icon should visually represent the action(s) performed when clicked.

In this case, the action is:

  1. Go Back (to the beginning)
  2. Play (or continue playing)

The icon below is the most clear representaion of these two actions in sequence.


Go Back and Play

This shows 'go back' leading directly into 'play', and nothing following play. Other icons that do not show the connection and sequence could be interpreted as representing a different action - e.g. 'play then repeat'.

You should test this with your users. You might discover that they find the extra play buttons confusing, and prefer to click play, and then click the go-back-to-start button - because that is what they are used to when they operate a TV remote.

  • unfortunately, for me this icon literally means "go from where we are, to the end, then go to the beginning, then go to where we are now."
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 22:06
  • The design is evident to you but could have different interpretation. I think the main key here is you can try and make your design as intuitive as you can, but people are still going to need training. Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 2:03

Why don't you simply go to the basics? What you want exists since tape recorders and was used by most video players since the 70s (and even audio devices like walkman later): stop and pause/still buttons. Stop button sends you to beginning, pause/still button keeps you in place. No need to create icons, new affordances, anything, this is an at least 40 years old technology

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

This way, you only need a regular play button, and if anything, just highlight the "pause" button to denote position. Good proven old school design.

  • You know, I believe "Stop" does not snd you to the start on the VHS. Great images!
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 22:53
  • you're correct, some of them did, some not, this is more a DVD thing due to the nature of digital "rewind". still the answer applies the same
    – Devin
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 22:57
  • 1
    40 years old technology that users 25 years old or younger won't immediately understand. Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 2:01
  • So you're implying that tested and proven UX should be ditched for untested icons only because time passes by? If so, I gotta admit it's an extremely interesting and creative approach for sure. Btw, trigonometry works, but... You know, most 25 years and younger won't immediately understand it, maybe we should ditch that too, as we're at it ;)
    – Devin
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 2:58
  • @RickHenderson It's worth a test. It should be noted that "stop" to stop and go to the beginning, along with its associated symbol, is still being used by media players like VLC or Windows Media Player.
    – Tin Man
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 18:47

Have you considered a textual "Play from start" button?

Every one of the proposals here is worth conducting user testing on and collecting analytics for. If none prove to be adequately recognizable, a textual button might be the best solution.

  • I like text solutions for sure.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 19:35

I propose having three symbols. If other action-symbols are appearing in buttons, then place all three of these symbols into a single button a button (a circle or (square) rectangle).

This may be cramming things a bit, which could be counter-acted by using smaller symbols. However, those downsides would be countered by the benefit of clarity of meaning. Using these symbols is sort of like ideogram's answer but designed for people who can read and write paragraphs, not music notation.


How about having a "bookmarks" panel, with a means of setting a particular bookmark as a default, and then having a "play bookmark" button on the scrubber control? If there is a default bookmark at the start of the piece and no other bookmark is set, "play bookmark" would replay from start. If, however, any other bookmark is set as the default, "play bookmark" would play from there.

  • I like it ! very nice..
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 19:30

To answer your bonus question:

On Youtube, you can hit 0 and skip to the beginning of the video. If it's not playing already, but paused at some other point, you only need to slap Space. The "regular" hotkeys don't work reliably every time because sometimes the browser focuses on the trackbar or you clicked the page, and the player isn't getting those key presses, so pressing Space might do a "page down" scroll instead. So press K to play/pause instead.

In media players, if you have extra keys on your keyboard like Play/Pause, Stop, Next, Previous, like this for example:

…You can press Stop and then Play.

If you don't have those extra keys, media players usually understand pressing the Home key as "go to start".

So this is usually a 2-key job if you're paused, unless you're already playing.

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