Icons are Nothing New
Ancient Egyptians used them to communicate all the time!
Icons have grown in popularity, in website design, since 2014.
So, is this an innovation or fad? In other words, do icons improve usability?
If the don’t add clarity, as no-one knows what the icon means, it serves no purpose.
Skeuomorphism adds Meaning
Skeuomorphic design creates meaning, by using something familiar, to represent a more abstract digital function.
For instance, this icon uses a bygone era letter, to represent email.
Adoption of More Abstract Icons
In late 2013, I did some user-testing, to see if people knew what this icon meant.
The location pin, indicating a map link, was still reasonably unfamiliar. Only due to it’s adoption by GoogleMaps and other high profile sites, was it’s meaning quickly understood.