The role of icons in influencing user experience

The main objective of the user interface (UI) of a website is to develop an association between the user and the website and to help the user find what he’s looking for. Icons are ideal for user interface because they pass on the meaning without using any words. A user can learn how to easily use an interface as soon as he gets familiar with the icons and their functions. This also influences their experience to a certain level. Here are some of the important functions of icons which influence user experience.

1) Navigation

Example of icons used in navigation by Saad Raja
Icons make navigation easier for a user. Icons help the user to distinguish between the purpose and behavior of a particular feature. Even though using icons can help the user in navigation more than anything else, some websites give written hints to help the user navigate easily. Some use an approach which uses both-written text label and an icon to help users navigate easily.

2) Visual Body

Example of icons used in Visual Body by Saad Raja
Navigation is not only limited to the main menu; however, it has a vital role in the main menu and sidebars of a website as well. Icons also support the main page body if they are designed accordingly. There are arrows placed within the text to help the user move onto the next page or go to the previous one. Call to Action button (CTA) also is placed with the text which, when clicked, takes you to another page to complete the action. CTA button symbolizes that there is an action available.

3) Descriptions

Example of icons used in Description by Saad Raja
Every website has given a telephone number, an email address, and a form to fill. Each of these is supported by an icon to make them more visible and easily understandable. Different signup forms given on a website are also accompanied by icons because they convey the information more easily and are recognizable.

4)  Conclusion

Reading the list of characteristics of a particular website might be a monotonous task for a user. Icons are therefore used to make the readers aware of the features of a website without reading. The colorful icons will gain the users’ interest and make them want to browse through the whole website. This is an easy option for them to skim through the website.

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