Icon- Big Impact Of A Small Element

Kritika Jain | 29th December 2017

In UI design Icon is a small and meaningful element that cannot be overestimated. Icons are keys to usability and intuitive navigation.  We can say, an icon can be defined as a visually expressing object which has a high symbolic value and is served the purpose of communication.


Benefits of Icons-
  • Icons are easy to recognize at a glance.
  • There is no need to translate icons for international users.
  • Icons enhancing aesthetic appeal.
  • In a finger-operated UI, Icons make good targets as they are sized large enough to be easily touched.
  •  Icons also save screen space.
Important features of effective icons-
  • Meaningful- Icons should transfer the informative value
  • Icon should be simple and clean
  • Scalable and flexible
  • Non-offensive
  • Attractive
Types Of Icons-

Let’s discuss the types of icons and their impact on the user experience.

Universal icons-

There are a few icons that enjoy mostly universal recognition among users. The icons for home, magnifying glass for search, and the shopping cart are such instances. The 3-line hamburger icon is a perfect example an icon that is striving to become universally known. These icons work well because they’re familiar.

There is only one problem with these types of icons are that they are rare. Sometimes, these icons can be ambiguous and can have different meanings depending on the interface.

Confusing and conflicting icons-

 Inconvenience starts when you implement a commonly used icon representation that has contradictory or mixed meanings.

For example- if you use a heart and star shape icons that are clearly used to indicate that you like something, Favorite, Add to cart, Rate something, and can also represent Bookmark as well. Icons functionality can be different from app to app. In short, these icons are hard to interpret precisely. For end-user, these symbols are very confusing in terms of their expected outcomes.

Unique Icons- 

One of the trickiest icon challenges is how to deal with that situation when your product has unique functions beyond the standard actions of sharing, favoriting, uploading pictures, writing text, and so on.  How do you describe a unique object or action? We have the best example for this- Apple’s icon for its Game Center app, is a group of colorful circles. How does it relate to gaming?What does the Game Center icon mean?

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Kritika Jain

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