Icons are everywhere. We have seen them on the roads, on the airports, on the shopping malls and of course they are omnipresent on the web. Take a look at your keyboard, yup icons are there too. The reason behind their popularity is the fact that icons help us identify things without reading the texts associated with it. For example, if you come across an icon of a human skull on a roadside, you just know from your intuition that the icon is placed there to warn you off some dangerous condition ahead.
So, icons are really useful right? Of course, they are. They are here to help people quickly process information without even looking at the texts placed just underneath. This is the reason why so many websites have embraced icons. But you simply can’t follow the trend blindly and start adding icons on websites. First, you need to understand why you should be using icons at the first place and where you should be using them.
However, if you have no idea where to use them or how to use icons to your advantage, you might have to read the rest of the article to get an idea –
1# Icons are Indispensable
Icons facilitate conversion and help disseminate information that are crucial to the users to perform certain actions. For example, we simply can’t think of using words to link social media accounts from a webpage because people have become quite accustomed to use icons for the same purpose. Icons of popular social media websites when used on a webpage also enhance the look and feel of the interface. Imagine using texts like – Facebook or Twitter in the footer section of the website instead of using some simple icons! That would look hideous to say the least.
2# Universal Appeal
Wondering what on earth these things are? Well, it is the word – Facebook written in different languages. You can’t possibly know all these languages right? Of course, you can’t.
So, now you can understand the implication of using the words as opposed to icons. Basically, what I am trying to say is that if you are targeting different language speaking audience, you will have to serve them translated version of that web page. But the problem will cease to exist if you have chosen icons instead. Icons are universal and people just know what they are and what purpose they serve and therefore, it is convenient to use them when you are targeting a group of people who speak different languages.
3# Visual Delight
The best thing about Icons is that they look really nice unless you have picked up some awful ones. If you know how to use them to your advantages, you will be able to spruce up the look and feel of the website. Icons also guide people while they are navigating the website. Sometimes, web designers use icons instead of texts in the top navigation section as people can relate to those icons easily and effortlessly. But beware of using too many icons on the interface as this could be counterproductive. It could make the design look messy and can make it difficult for the general users to browse the website easily.
4# Improves Readability
It is observed that the proper use of icons can help improve the readability of a website greatly. Web design is not all about using high quality images, adding some fancy and cool effects rather all it boils down to one thing that is readability. If your targeted audience faces difficulties while reading the content of your website, there is no point in having that website. The easiest way to improve the readability of your website is by increasing the line height, adding some padding against the paragraphs, using a simple font type and of course using icons carefully.
5# Make The Design Interesting
Try to imagine a website without any image. It is hard to do that right? Well, of course that is why we use images as they help us improve the look and feel of an otherwise ordinary design. The same principle applies to icons. Colourful and creative icons can really change the look and feel of a website. All you have to do is to be a little creative with it and you will be just fine.
So, basically these are some advantages of using icons on a website. Icons are really useful but you have to learn how to use them properly.