Legacy Maemo 5 Documentation/Human Interface Guidelines/Icons

This article is legacy documentation, and is superseded by Forum Nokia documentation.
The Forum Nokia documentation is available as the Hildon 2.2 UI style guide, Fremantle master layout guide and the Hildon 2.2 widget UI specification

Many applications share similar tasks that can can be represented by a generally known icon. For example, several applications have "Previous", "Next", "Back" or "Forward" actions that can represented by arrow icons. For these kind of actions applications must not ship their own icons, they must use the system icons instead (known as stock icons). An alternative is to ship any desired icons but using the common task ones only when there is no equivalence in the system.

Because there is no mouse on a touch screen device, there are no tooltips. Therefore, choosing an icon when there is no text label in the widget involves a more important decision than on a desktop computer. If users do not understand what action is assigned to a button with only an icon, they need to read any help document about the application but are likely to press that button to check its function (which might not result in what the user wants). If an icon is not clear enough for the task it represents, do not use it, use a text label instead. Text labels generally give a better explanation to the user. Apart from the mentioned common tasks, the only way where an icon might be preferable to a text label is when there is no space for the text.

For general guidelines on the design of good icons, see the GNOME HIG Icons section.