Usability - SIG, Spin, Echo icons [was Re: Icon theme for ubuntu]

David Nielsen david at
Thu Nov 22 00:42:20 UTC 2007

tor, 22 11 2007 kl. 00:37 +0100, skrev Martin Sourada:
> On Wed, 2007-11-21 at 23:40 +0100, David Nielsen wrote:
> > [1] 
> Thanks for the link,
> to have some material to talk about, I've taken some of the newer Echo
> icons (all the 'category' icons [1] are done that way, and more or less
> finished) and run through the filters. I don't see any big issues with
> them, what do you think? I attach the original, plus the processed
> images, that are sadly saved in jpeg which does not give the best
> results...

Generally, iso prespective make the icons look smaller, please remember
that at this size both detail level and shape affects how easily you can
utilize the brains wonderful pattern recognition abilities. I would
strip the detail level down as much as possible and go for head on
prespective. I would wager that the icons we display most often would be
menu ones so they really deserve that extra attention and love. Another
consideration with regards to prespective is that orientation matters in
preception of size, twisted left seems smaller than twisted right
because you appear to show off less surface area. The human brain is a
strange beast.

Add/Remove Software is very good, easy to spot, good shape use, colors
work well across the colorblindness spectrum and it's head on
prespective. A really good icon.

The graphics icon is very hard to make out. I cannot I have to admit
figure out what the office icon is suppose to look like, it does however
seem to get better when the colorblindness filters are applied.

Also notice how well the shape works for recognition for the games icon,
low level of detail - despite even appearing small due to the iso
prespective usage. It's also the only one to have a defined outline
which really helps make the icon appear crisp and easy to recognize.
This makes it work really well in every filter applied and I can make it
out without my glasses on even from around 1m away.

Where sexy and usable clashes is really the prespective, don't do iso
unless at desktop icon size or above, you can candy it up with detail as
size increases. Jimmac has a great article on his blog regarding the
problems surrounding sizes and scaling icons[1].

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