Don’t overthink icon decisions

November 28, 2013

219 words, a 2 minutes read

I often have the problem of overthinking simple decisions, as choosing an icon. I think about if that icon really suits it, if there is a better one and if I don’t re-use icons I used elsewhere in a completely different context.

What I learnt: Even I now just accept the icons. When I’m now looking at my Apps navigation list, I see icons that may not really suit the purpose of this app to the edge, but they have something in common.

Why is the “Port => Dienst” icon an ordered list? Because it’s about a list with numbers. Why is the “MAC-Adresse => Hersteller” icon a bar code? Because it’s something that’s chosen and “printed” on the hardware at the factory, like a bar code.

See? Don’t choose too long, because as long as it has something in common, it suits it. Users will accept it too. Have you EVER thought, that something is the completely wrong icon? I did not, as long as there were captions for it.

Icons just serve as a visual clue for your eyes, so that when you re-open this list, you don’t have to read each entry, you just search for that icon. So as long as that is consistent, choose one and keep it, you can’t do something completely wrong.