Icon UX Design

I was inspired to dive more into UX design after our lecture on the Thursday before break. Since I have spent a good deal of my freelance time working strictly with design, I wanted to look for a design-based article influenced by user experience. I found one catered specifically towards icon design and implementation. I am always fascinated by the simplicity and effectively of icons so I wanted to read up on why that is and learn some tips for designing my own icons.

Something that the article mentioned right off the back was still to include text with icons. It said not to use icons as a be all end all form of navigation because it is shown to not work. “Icons are simply there to help distinguish purpose from behavior,” the article reads. I remember Lindsey mentioning how inefficient the hamburger menu was and this article confirmed that. Using the word “menu” is much more clear and just as simple. A take good take away quote the article mentioned was “Icons make browsing simpler and clarify intent.” This can be reaffirmed in the following section where it talks about using icons for in body links, especially in drop down menus. They help direct users within menus that can become very cluttered. The best example can be implementation of arrows which unanimously signify moving forward through the website. Arrows also provide visuals on what content will be and when paired with arrows and pointed toward a call to action button make the users complete a “formula” in their head. For example, icon + icon + icon = cumulative action signified by a call to action button.

Icons are also often paired with forms. Forms typically are very cold and not personal. By adding icons to help describe form boxes the boxes are given a more personal and approachable feel. The same can be seen more commonly with social media links. Users are familiar with social media logos and using those in place of text help simplify a web page. The recommendation of this article is only to add icons if your forms have between three and five fill boxes.

Lastly, the article talks about using icons when launching web apps or startup software. Rather than list all of the new features, it is much easier on the users to visualize what is available for them to start playing around with. I wanted to wrap up with one of my favorite design quotes. It goes, “Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” I think that this especially bodes true for icons. If used correctly and designed well, the user should be working through a website through icons without even realizing their decoding icons.

Read the article here.


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