Archive for April, 2007

Why we should take care when using image icons for menu items

April 25, 2007

Streamline.net my web host provides a useful online ftp capability. However, their use of icons as… well I’m not sure exactly what their purpose is, which is exactly the problem.

Take a look at them below.
icons

It is not immediately obvious what each of them does. What does the heart mean? The use of alt tags told me it was to add the site in your favourites menu. Ok, now I get the connection, but why should I have to think about it I just want to use it. Furthermore, the use of alt tags is not sufficient to convey information as it took me a few attempts in rolling my mouse over the icon for it to appear.

The standby button at the end I assume is to log out, but I’m not completely sure. I don’t want to click on it just to find out where it takes me, in case it does log me out. I’ll then have to log back in gain which will be really frustrating, so instead I ignore it completely. How do I log out? When I’ve finished I’ll just close down my browser session, rendering the icon useless.

Ultimately, it is confusing to me and a waste of design and development time as they are not achieving their purpose.

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