Optimizing User Interface Icons for Faster Recognition


2 of 5 stars
What’s this?

The new icon style in iOS 7 — pencil thin, and line- rather than shape-based — has received its share of criticisms. Aubrey Johnson argued at Medium.com that they produce unnecessary “cognitive fatigue.” In this article, Alla Kholmatova tests this out, timing recognition speeds in a set of icons in the “line” style versus another set in the “filled” style. The results are not particularly definitive, and go to illustrate the point that every icon is different, and people will probably continue to argue about this forever. Read the full article at Boxes and Arrows.



  1. I think the problem with the “thin” icons isn’t so much that they’re harder to identify. It’s that they’re harder to find. I constantly find myself hunting around the screen, looking for icons I can potentially tap. They’re so thin that they almost become invisible if you don’t know where to look.

  2. It depends on the context… it always depend on the context.
    I haven’t studied this myself but according to my experience :
    – A “filled” icon would work better on page with lot of visual elements and few icons.
    – A “thin” icon works well when looking at a group of icons….

Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.