Originally posted by Nicky
Does anyone know of any good tutorials concerning icon design? Also, what are your thoughts on the following?
I dont know of any tutorials at the moment, but there are lots of tools out there that will let you create
* Is it a good idea to design a menu with icons?
I think its very helpful, as long as you have the <alt> text for the graphic, and have the actual text for it, somewhere nearby. Otherwise people might not know what those icons stand for.
* Can you use ONLY pictorial representation and still have a useful navigation system?
I dont think so. When Microsoft initiated its cryptic-icon menu bar with the onslaught of programs such as Word and Excel, a lot of the people were confused about the meanings of those icons by themselves. If you saw a printer, you'd know that meant "print" but what about a clipboard with a sheet of paper over it..that means "paste"? I'd rather see a tube of glue, myself...So you see, it can be misleading and ultimately frustrating, for the user who isn't aware of the intended meanings.
* Can text and icons work well together?
Of course, especially for repeat visitors coming to your site. As long as you have the meaning of the icon there beside it, they'll know where to go, and when they come back, they'll instantly remember that "clicking the icon of a house means you return to the index page"..and so on.
* What makes a good icon?
Something that isn't too abstract. I dont want to look for a "search" button and finally find out that I click the dancing purple dog to enter my keywords! Folders, globes, computers and arrows make great navigation buttons because the majority understands them. Balloons, smiley-faces, and dancing purple dogs do not
because nobody can decrypt them...get the idea?