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It has all the makings of one, I guess I just need to actually use it...

Icon #fail

Oct 30, 2017 at

Icon design can be an incredible challenge.  Icons are supposed to convey things in the most simple form possible, and yet they can often convey things differently than the designer intended.  I am a fan of super simple, line icons.  You can overdo it, try to get to intricate or complex, or come up with an icon that simply misses the mark. 

There are all numerous UX and research studies (here's one from Neilsen Norman) about the "infamous" hamburger menu icon, what it conveys, and how useful it is at conveying what it does. 

While there are certain icons that have multiple meanings, or perhaps aren't as clear as other solutions--there are some icons that are just plain bad.  A recent project I was working on had me looking at icons that conveyed the action of "tapping" on the screen.  There are some great simple examples--most involve a finger, with a semi-circle around the top giving the impression of movement or action taking place.  When working on icons I devote some time to research on Google and Dribbble, as well as looking through and Font Awesome for examples to help make a favorable icon/design decision.  It can be thought provoking and seriously helpful if you find yourself trying to come up with something unique, or hard to describe. 

"Tap" isn't one of those, but none-the-less, it's always worth a look.  I was surprised at what I found.  There were quite a few icons devoted to "tapping" the new Apple Airpods.  Not what I was looking for, and something I hadn't realized needed an icon.  I wanted to make sure I wasn't the only one who saw the icon as odd, and frankly overtly phallic in nature--so I sent it around to my team.  The response was unanimous--this was a bad design choice... I'll let the icons do the talking for themselves...

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