Effective web design is all about finding the balance between typography, colours, and imagery to create a layout that is unique as well as practical. But web design also has to be responsive, so that people accessing your website on a mobile device or tablet can still have access to a well designed website, with all the information. And when it comes to fitting all the information on a small screen size, icons become increasingly important. So what is an icon? And how can icons be used throughout a website, or a mobile website. Well, here at Pumpkin Web Design Manchester, we are Manchester’s leading web design experts. And we work with companies and businesses across the region, from Blackburn and Stockport,to provide top quality web design solutions that really stand out. As a result, we have produced this guide to the key considerations for designing the perfect icons.
What are website icons?
First of all, what exactly are website icons? Well, it is more than just a link to Facebook or Twitter, even though these are probably the icons you are most familiar with. An icon is a small illustration that provides a visual representation of a text based label. So a tiny dustbin, is the universal icon for delete. On a website, an icon is an interactive element that can help guide your users through the purchasing or signing up experience, and help them find the information they were looking for. They can also add style and visual value to your website, and be created in a way that represents your brand identity. However, being overly reliant on icons can also pose issues for effective web design.
Considerations for designing the perfect icons
If you want to use icons on your website, you could create a positive user experience. However, there are some things you should bear in mind to make sure that your icons are used successfully. These include:
- Cultural boundaries- The global nature of the internet means that the icons you choose need to be instantly recognisable to people around the world. Sometimes some icons do not translate well globally, as different symbols can have different connotations in different cultures. As a result, you need to consider the the cultural boundaries.
- Icon recognition- For an icon to work effectively, it needs to be recognisable and understood. In some cases icons can be used alongside text, and in others they can be used without the text at all. This means that the icon itself needs to be simple, clear, and easy to understand.
- Icon size- Icons that are too large can look out of place, while icons that are two small can be difficult to see. So it is important that during the planning stage you experiment with different size icons and choose the most effective for your website and layout.
Using icons in web design
There are many ways to use icons in web design. The most common include:
- Combining icons with text for the navigation menu- Usually, such a menu is hidden behind a hamburger menu, which in itself is an icon, and reveals a list of pages, each with a small icon for visual clarity and appeal. Although this works well, it is sometimes overused, and might not provide the same level of originality as other ideas.
- Combining icons with text for Contact us segments and elements- Combining icons with text for the contact us sections works really well. A phone, email and location symbol are all universally recognised symbols that are not ambiguous. So for mobile design where space is tight, you can even ditch the text part of the combo to save room.
- Using social media icons- Social media icons are a great way to present what would otherwise be very long links. Instead the icons are small and interactive, and take the user straight to your social media platform.
For more information or advice, get in touch with Manchester’s leading web design professionals today. Here at Pumpkin Web Design Manchester.