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 One design issue that comes up whenever you have the good fortune of designing from scratch is whether or not to use icons. Icons offer some distinct advantages. Icons

  • Add color to the UI and help break the monotony of the gray and blue.
  • Provide impetus for creative thinking.
  • Facilitate internationalization.

There are also several pitfalls to using icons:

You have probably heard people talk about usability as making a user interface more efficient for the user. And what they usually mean by efficiency, in particular, is reducing the number of mouse clicks to complete a task. Efficiency carries great appeal for most engineers, including software developers. It certainly seems like a natural way to improve usability. Little wonder, then, that whenever there is a discussion among developers about user interface designs, the option with the fewest mouse clicks wins.


But maybe not if there is a usability specialist in the room!