The power of icons

A brief history

But what exactly are icons? Simply put, an icon is an image that represents an object, action or idea. The peculiarity of icons is that they convey meaning in a more straightforward and easy-to-process way than a sequence of words would. For example, the yellow sign depicting a substance leaking onto a holed hand and surface acts as a more direct, easy-to-grasp warning than a textual sign that reads “Mind you that in this area there are dangerous substances that may severely damage or corrode your skin or any surface”.

The advantages of using icons

Yet, the fact that pictures are easier to remember compared to words is very well documented in the literature. Standing et al. tested image memorability by showing subjects as many as 1,560 pictures over a 4-day period. When their memory was tested on a subset of the studied pictures, the subjects reached 90% accuracy in their recognition of the studied pictures in their original orientation or in reverse orientation. This so-called picture superiority effect in memory holds true not only for complex pictures but also for simple object line drawings (e.g. Durso & O’Sullivan).

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Presago

Presago

We develope software solutions to unleash the full potential of people’s productivity.