Main Uses Of Icons In Web Design

There are a series of elements that are part of a web interface such as text, colors, photographs, illustrations, etc. One of these elements are icons, which are not only used in flat design, as may be the most logical assumption but are used on a wide variety of websites with different styles. In this article, we mention some of the most common uses of icons in web design so that you take into account the importance of these elements.


For the description of features or services

There are a large number of companies and startups that offer a service or product. Many of these products are digital and usually, it is a web or mobile application that solves a specific problem of the audience. It is to be expected that, on the official page, then, the most notable features of the said application will be mentioned.

Words are inevitably used to explain these concepts, but the simple language should be used and the benefits or functions should be described briefly and accurately. However, despite using these techniques to improve the understanding of your users, they could get bored when seeing so much text. For this reason, it is a common strategy to add icons to describe these functions and features. Not only do they add more variety to the section of the website, but they serve to reinforce the message and visually explain some concepts. In this way, it is much easier for the user to relate the icon to the concept and understand the characteristics or functions described.

It can also be used to explain and divide the services that a certain company offers or to explain the phases of some process.


To indicate the data to enter in web forms

In the vast majority of websites, a form is placed to send queries or questions. Other sites use a form to log in or create a new account. In other cases, it can be placed for registration to a newsletter. There are a large number of purposes that a web form can have, but in most sites at least one is included as a means of contact between the audience and the company.

Although it is usual to put a textual description of the data to be entered in each field, in certain forms it is possible to find related icons. For example, if the email address is required, the at sign or envelope will be added as an icon. Often, the icon is not enough and to avoid misunderstandings, users place the icon related to the data on the right side of the field, while in the field itself they add the type of data to be entered.

The main objective of every designer is that the web form can be filled quickly and easily. Adding both the data type and a related icon improves quick understanding, so it can be an ideal addition to your web forms.


To optimize navigation

In mobile applications, icons are usually used as part of the menu due to the small screen space that these devices have. It is also possible that text is used for each menu item, but it is usually “hidden” through the hamburger menu, an icon widely used in mobile applications.

Although it is more common for text to be used in menu items on a website, it is possible to use icons as a menu. Although both text and icons are usually used to avoid misunderstandings, on certain web pages that divide your menu into few sections it may be ideal. Also when a more or less experimental menu is used and instead of being at the top of the page, it is located vertically on the left side of the screen.

If you think logically, icons help explain concepts visually, and can also be used as distinctive elements, making it easier to locate a certain menu section using an icon. It is a strategy that is usually used in web application control panels, for example.

However, you should consider whether that risk is worth taking as users are already used to certain design patterns, particularly when it comes to navigation.


To control image sliders

Image sliders are used on a large number of websites as they offer great benefits and serve various purposes. Of course, you must carefully select the photos that you will place in the slider for better use of this resource.

In some sliders, users are not given the option to return to a previous slide. However, it is recommended to give users some freedom, particularly if advertising style images are used that promote a discount or a new product. In these cases, arrows are usually placed on the right and left sides of the images, although these icons may also be located at the bottom, under the photographs.

Not only do you usually place arrows to advance or return to a photo, but you can also place the popular icon that indicates “pause”. In this way, the user can carefully view a particular photograph without the need for the slider's own countdown.


In conclusion

You probably use icons without realizing it because they are a minimal element, usually small. Since each element that you place in your interface can affect the user experience, it is advisable to know in what type of situations the icons are used appropriately to avoid adding them in sections of the design where they cannot really be used to the maximum. Top web development companies use icons in the interface of websites.