Lately I’ve been thinking about icons and usability, and specifically whether the little link, e-mail, and speech bubble icons before each post are intuitive. Most other bloggers seem to have settled on using text links. I worry that new visitors to the site won’t realize that they can leave comments. So I’m running an experiment. As you can see, I’ve removed the icons in favor of text links. (I scrapped the e-mail link altogether; was anybody using it? The address was wrong anyway!) I should be able to track which method resulted in the most first-time comments. Right now, I’m not sure I like it. I find it difficult to visually distinguish between posts, but maybe that’s just because I’m used to the old system. What do you guys think? Did you find w-g confusing the first time you visited?

Update: Okay, okay, they’re back! I did get rid of the e-mail icon though. I guess in certain situations usability comes secondary to the interests of long-time users. 🙂

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  1. i didn’t find it confusing, because if you ran your cursor over the symbols it basically told you. i think it’s most people being too lazy to take the time to figure out what they would have meant, but i may just be in a bad mood 🙂

  2. Well, you deal with lazy stupid people at work all day long! It’s understandable. 🙂

  3. nope, no confusion here. but maybe i know what to look for? quite a few people use icons as links, and as robert pointed out already, as long at there is an alt tag with some additional info for those who may be otherwise confused, i don’t think there is much to worry about.

    your site is always so pretty and clean looking. i’m jealous. :o)

  4. Awww, thanks! It comes of my finally acknowledging that I have zero graphics design skills. Minimalism is all that’s left. 🙂

  5. aha — I thought something looked different… I liked the icons — and found them very easy to use, right from the start. And you’re right, they did help break up the page a bit.

  6. I liked the icons, but im a simple old school kinda guy.

  7. It wasn’t hard to figure out the icons, though I can’t remember ever using anything other than the comment one. I also liked how they broke up the page visually. The only counter-intuitive (or at least non-standard) factor was having the links on top of the posts instead of afterwards.

  8. I was never confused, and yours was the first blog that I read. I’m also finding it a little harder to distinguish between the posts with the new format.

  9. We fear change.

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