NPR’s Science Friday website has a new look. I was drawn to the use of icons on their webpage. Topics such as planet, space, brain, biology, nature, and mathematics have been very creatively represented using icons.
Using icons in design have numerous advantages:
- Icons can contribute to the simplicity of the design by reducing the amount of text and clutter.
- Icons can be comprehensible to a wider population irrespective of language barriers, including children.
- Icons can promote faster recognition. Remember a picture is worth a 1000 words!
Though icons offer several advantages, these have the potential to create a lot of user confusion if not designed correctly. Poor icon design on displays can also lead to user errors in safety-critical domains.
What are some of the techniques that can be used to ensure that icons represent what the designer intends to convey to the end user?