Icon instead of text

Icons have entered our life a long time, but the perception of the object or sign that we see may be different depending on age, nationality and many other factors.


If today I ask the question: «How does the phone look like?», Then, for sure, most will describe the one that lies in their pocket, rather than the stationary one from their office. It's all due to what surrounds us. If we were asked to draw a phone icon 15 years ago, it would be significantly different from the modern one. The world around us is constantly changing: new technologies, traditions and much more are emerging. The same thing happens with the icons that symbolize them, which may be incomprehensible to most people. Moreover, even the regular use of 15-year-old icons does not guarantee their understanding. For example, let's take the icons that indicate the rules of clothing care, at the sight of which it is not immediately clear what actions can be taken and which can not be done.
Agree that in this example, text instead of icons would be preferable. Often for clarity, the icon is used together with the text, but after users remember the icon and get used to it, the text is removed. Such a method can work if the service has a permanent audience or users familiar icon on the experience of working with similar interfaces. The question arises: what to do for those services to which new users come regularly who have not received the necessary experience before, or does the old and new audience of which, for example, represent the same phone in different ways? For them, a good solution is to use, first of all, the text, and the icon, if necessary, only to enhance the perception. In this situation, do not leave the icon without explanation.

And now try to imagine the icons that will symbolize the secretary, accountant and methodologist. Most likely, they have a great similarity between themselves and for the user to understand who you meant, we again have to add an explanation — text.

Therefore, in order to avoid misunderstanding, I suggest, first of all , Use text, not icons. If possible, you can do without them, the text will be enough.

Translated using Google