Label your icons

No, we can’t read your mind. Please label your icons.

NNot labeling your icons is the same as assuming that we are all fluent in ancient hieroglyphics. Are you? Can you just walk up to Cleopatra's needle and read it like you could read a children's book? Even emojis, our modern hieroglyphics don't mean the same thing to each person. If I send you an eggplant am I talking about my garden or something else? How about a goat? Am I talking about my trip to the farm or an athlete that I feel is the “greatest of all time?” How about a snake? or fire? But a smiley face is a smiley face, right? I urge you to overthink and debate that.

The Struggle Is Real.

As a designer, I feel like we are all victims to the struggle of thinking there are conventional icons that everyone knows. But after lots of user testing over the years, I have found that this cannot be further from the truth. There is no convention for icons, there's no set of icons everyone knows. there's no standard. There are no “laws” per se when it comes to what icons anyone can use for anything. Due to this, people can use whatever they want for any meaning. That's right, no one is stopping you! Go make a cat on a horse your home icon!

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