You must know that icons are actually used long before the existence of the internet. What makes it different now in this digital era is that it is used in the website, various types of software, and other digital forms due to its advantages, from the aesthetic to the functions. Let’s see the main use of software icons you must know.
To fully understand how icons are used in software, you must first understand what software is. In simple words, the software is a collection of instructions, programs, and data that are used to manage a device and carry out specified activities. It is the key to making the devices work. We often think to get the latest series of flagship devices but it is actually the improvement of the software that makes the devices work more incredibly.
Even if you do not realize it, you actually use software all this time. Yes, it has several types with their own examples but some of which you might be familiar with are Microsoft Office where you usually do your task, Google Chrome for a place for you to surf on the internet, and Adobe Photoshop which helps you in working your best photograph. Even the phone or the laptop that you are using right now is operated by the operating system from the software!
The Use of Icons in Software
After you read the brief explanation of the software earlier, now it is time for you to know how icons are used in the software.
As Substitutes to Words
This is the main reason why the utilization of this visual representation remains until this day. Mainly for software that comes in screen pages that have limited space, icons can help to visually express an action or an object in the software rather than using text-based links or explanations that will take up too much place.
Imagine if you see a lot of text on one screen page, you might be confused and end up closing the application. However, if you see some specific symbols that are properly made according to the real-life object of the functions, you will immediately know what functions those symbols are. Here is where the designers need to pay attention to dos and don’ts in designing the software icons so that the user will not get confused.
As a User Experience Enhancer
In digital, UX plays a huge role to engage the loyalty of the user. By giving them positive experiences, they will be satisfied and will come back to use the software again. One of many aspects that can help to improve the UX is by using icons to express certain functions. The user can easily click and touch the symbol, super simple and effective.
Moreover, by using this graphic symbol, there will be no language barrier as long as the symbol is universally known for one function. For example, the image of the trash bin is mostly used to express a function of a place for the files to be deleted. So, when you choose a file and when the trash bin symbol appears you click it, it means you are deleting that file.
As Decorative Elements
It can be said that every aspect of digital must be aesthetic or at least visually appealing because it is what the user sees for the first time in the software. Well-designed icons can be decorative elements to enhance the user interface because a screen page without images will be boring and flat. So, both the functions and the looks of it should be the thing that the software developers pay attention to.
Not only the icons themselves, but their placement plays a huge role in promoting visual interest. If you notice, most software places the icons at the top and the bottom of the screen page. It will definitely help the screen be more organized and the icons to be visible, creating a better look of the software appearance.
It is clear that software icons can help the user to navigate and use the functions of the software easily as well as support its visual looks. Using icons can be advantageous for both the user and the software. So, its utilization will always be inevitable in the digital world.