While it may seem insignificant, icons actually play an important role in website and software design. It not only attracts attention, but it is also a tool for users to operate the functions it represents. Therefore, it should be carefully created by paying attention to its function and aesthetic.
Designing user-friendly icons with great aesthetics and high functionality are not really difficult. Here are some dos and don’ts that you can follow to make sure your icons are not only attractive but also user-friendly.
Don’t create abstract icons
Icons are created mainly to communicate meaning and users should not be analyzing them to find out what they actually meant and used for. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your icons are recognizable at first glance. Software icons communicate ideas using certain objects or actions that represent certain meanings.
The object or action should immediately be clear to users. If not, then the icon doesn’t work to represent the idea it is supposed to convey. Abstract icons rarely work well because users cannot easily understand the meaning behind them.
Do use objects that are easily recognizable
The safest route is using an object or action that is easily recognizable. There are a few icons that use this principle and now have universal recognition from users of various backgrounds. The easiest example is the envelope icon that is recognized as an inbox, magnifying glass for search, and so on.
Don’t add unnecessary words
You should opt for a minimalist style when creating a software icon. Too many specific details sometimes make the icons not easily recognized. Don’t add unnecessary words that repeat the name of what to do with the software. For example, you don’t need to add the name of the software since the name will already appear under the icon.
Don’t add photographic details
A lot of designers strive to create as beautiful icons as possible and they end up going overboard with it. Remember that icons are going to be small. Adding screenshots or photographic details will only make it hard to see at a small size.
Do pay attention to the balance in detail
When you are designing icons, you need to make sure that they are clear and intuitive. You can use a concrete object for your icon. To do this, pick a few common characteristics of all objects that share the same idea, then omit the rest. For a minimalist yet clear icon, try to put a single character at the center point of the icons. This will help capture attention and help users identify the software easily.
Don’t make the icons merge with the background
Another important thing you need to pay attention to when designing icons is how they interact with different backgrounds. Therefore, make sure that you test your icons against different backgrounds to see if they still look good enough and do not clash with the background color.
Make sure you don’t merge the icons with the background. It will make your icon barely recognizable and make it difficult to find. This will affect users’ experience and will possibly make them choose another software that is more easily found on their home screen.
Don’t make it clutter the background
Last but not least is to make sure that your icon does not clutter the background. You can avoid this by making sure that your icon is not transparent. Opaque is the best choice as it will be easy and quick to spot on.
Sometimes you will need to see how your icons look on an actual device to be able to clearly see how well it looks. While it may seem like a hassle to do after you’re done designing the icons, it is actually an important part to make sure that your icons work well on any device.
Creating beautiful and engaging icons can be easy but it requires a lot of attention to little detail. Take your time when you’re designing to make sure you come up with the best icons you can. You will need to research and test different objects before you finally come up with the most perfect software icons for your web design.