There are a series of elements that make up a website, such as text, colors, images, illustrations, etc. One of these elements is icons, which are used a variety of websites with different styles.
In a short walk down your street, you pass numerous symbols such as the red octagon stop sign, the United States Postal Service bird on blue mailboxes, the yellow and black walk sign.
What these symbols and icons convey helps you immediately recognize and know something or take an action, without massive wording, such as: “You must stop right here and look around or you’ll get hit by a car!”
Icons are part of the larger umbrella of user UI design, something we’re affected and surrounded by every single day.
USES OF ICONS
Icons describe functions
Although using words to explain concepts is the most direct approach, users may get bored or lose focus with too much text and skip over the message altogether. For this reason, adding icons to describe these functions and features may be an even more effective approach. Not only do they add a more variety to the section, but they also reinforce the message with a visual explanation. This makes it much easier for the user to relate the icon to the concept and understand the features or functions described.
Icons explain a story
Icons are often used when explaining a process, as you can visually represent each step. They help us visually understand each step of a process and facilitate the visual separation and understanding of the elements they contain.
Icons help fill out forms
A web form is one of the best ways to get prospective clients and indirectly establish a cordial relation with them. The time you spend bringing the user to your website should be complemented with the same amount of time perfecting the user experience, including your web forms.
A textual description of the data required in each field often times accompanies an icon; however, in certain forms, it is possible to find related icons that are understood without the use of words. The main objective of every designer is that the web form can be completed quickly and easily. Adding both the data type and a related icon improves quick understanding.
Icons help optimize navigation
As we already know, icons help explain concepts in a visual way. They can also be used as distinctive elements in navigating a website, such as making it is easier to locate and follow certain information throughout the site. For example, let’s say your business has 5 different services and those services are listed on the homepage with a specific icon for each of them. After clicking on one of the service icons, it will be much easier for the user to understand what service he or she is diving into if that new page has the same service logo in the hero section.
IMPORTANCE AND IMPACT OF EFFECTIVE ICONS IN UI AND UX DESIGN
Icons have always been used in web design, but they reached their fullest potential in mobile design, thanks to touch input. In a small space like mobile, icons have to be functional, understandable and intuitive. Icons can overcome language barriers and be understandable for international users, holding universal meaning.
UI builds customer confidence
Every customer wants to have a good experience and nobody likes using a hard to navigate website or a clunky application. A website, especially a business website, needs to be easy to use, have good color contrast, possess helpful navigation buttons, and just the right amount of information. Customers are automatically more receptive to an application or website that is well-designed, delivers the right information, and is not jarring. In the digital age, as user attention span is notoriously low, poor UI design will always hamper a website.
Good UI reduces confusion
The purpose of UI design is to clearly convey the intention or message of the website to the user without distracting the user unnecessarily. If there is poor color contrast, unnecessary information overload, no consistency in UI design, or haphazard grouping of tools, it will lead to more confusion in a user’s mind and decrease the chances of the website fulfilling its purpose. UI developers should ensure that a website or application is tidy, orderly, and unchaotic in order to reduce confusion and increase customer conversion.
Consistency in UI design is critical
Consistency in UI design refers to the practice of ensuring that all the visual elements of an interface are in uniform order. The elements must look similar, complement each other, behave in a similar manner, and create a familiar pattern. If a webpage has a familiar theme and pattern to it, it is far more likely to resonate in the minds of a user than it would if there was no consistency in UI design. Placement, font, box size, layout, graphics, panels etc. all need to be consistent throughout an entire interface.
Good UI increases customer conversion
Good UI design is paramount to meeting your business targets and goals in this digital age. For an emerging business, well-designed UI can lead to good brand recognition and leave a good impression of the business in the minds of customers. As customers have a litany of choices in every conceivable field and industry, optimized UI design is crucial to retaining customer attention spans and monetizing them successfully.
Icons have a huge impact on a website, as each element that you place on your site can affect the overall user experience. Be mindful of the appropriateness of the icons used on your site, as it can help avoid ineffective usage of them along with mistakenly adding them to the wrong sections of the site.