Thoughts about icon sizes

Posted on:July 13 2012

I just uploaded a new version of WebsitePainter, including some new nice features, but the first big visible change in that website editor is the new icon toolbar. Before, the editor used a standard, 16x16 toolbar, but now, I made this twice as big. Here is a comparison:

I really like the new toolbar: It wastes a bit more screen space, but it's now immediately clear what the buttons do, and they also look more nicer. On big screens with huge resolutions, the small icons were probably even not very visible at all. Now, when looking at my other programs, like CopperCube, I don't really like those small icons anymore:

But the problem is, for such a complicated program as a 3D editor, you really need a lot of icons, and screen space is important. So I'm not sure if it would be useful to replace the toolbar in that editor in the same way. On the other side, it would be nice having some texts under all these icons in the 3d editor, it's difficult to know what the buttons do, especially if you are new to the program. Hm. What do you think?


I like the bigger icons! To make use of the space in coppercube and still use bigger icons, you could divide up the icons in different tabs like you have with the "scene editing" "Poly Editing" etc, but place it above where the File and edit are, and maybe some nice design and colors. I think it can look really nice if used right.
2012-07-13 09:58:00

You might consider Office like ribbon interface. Don't dismiss it as bad because it has been made by Microsoft. It is very well though of and from your CopperCube screenshot, you'd use almost exactly the same screen estate while being able to provide larger icons. See:
2012-07-13 10:29:00

Congratulations Niko great job.
For CopperCube could use the hidden windows by clicking a button appear or disappear from the side of the screen takes up less space so you can use larger icons.

PS: translation done with Google.
2012-07-13 10:38:00

You could make an icon (or maybe the whole bar) bigger and/or show text on mouseover, at least when the mouse rests a while on the bar. Or something along these lines.
2012-07-13 11:56:00

Cinema 4d has larger icons, and has some act like drop down box with more icons within. So all the primitive creation are in one box, all the modifier objects are in one box etc.
2012-07-13 12:03:00

The larger style is basically the Mac OS X style, and it's one I've come to prefer too.

You can sort of get the same effect with the Ribbon on Windows, but it's not as clean because you're kind of expected to pack large and small icons in, and there's the tabs. Ribbon is optimised to get as much stuff into the toolbar as possible of course which can be good for complex interfaces, but I still don't like having to dig around in ribbon tabs very much. It takes almost as much time as digging through menus, which is kinda what a toolbar was supposed to avoid.
2012-07-13 13:55:00

Also thought about using a ribbon, but I don't think it would fit. But no reason to not try it out. :) Didn't know about cinema4d, thanks for the tip.
2012-07-14 07:34:00

Awesome work Niko

Very well Done.

Yes coopercube would also look nice too.

And a small request!!!!

Can you make a button in WebsitePainter that interacts with coopercube, with variables especially.

Again very well done!!!!
2012-07-17 21:09:00

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