User interface designers still have to rely on personal creativity and skill when designing computer icons for program functions that have no existing conventional representation. Further, designers often stumble upon usable icons by trial and error. We designed an Icon Intuitiveness Test to gain better insight into how users interpret icons. Our hypothesis was that users would interpret icons they do not know the functionality of as iconic signs1 by assuming that the icon looks like the functionality it represents. Our study suggests that participants do indeed base their guesses on the visual clues they can see and interpret the unknown icon as having the functionality they think it resembles.

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Keywords Icon, Semiotics, Usability, User interface design
Conference 7th Australasian User Interface Conference, AUIC 2006
Ferreira, J. (Jennifer), Noble, J. (James), & Biddle, R. (2006). A case for iconic icons. Presented at the 7th Australasian User Interface Conference, AUIC 2006.