Search-Efficacy of Modern Icons Varying in Appeal and Visual Complexity

  • Mick SmythwoodEmail author
  • Siné McDougall
  • Mirsad Hadzikadic
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11584)


Users’ levels of satisfaction increase when their interactions are swift and they experience the interface as easy to use. Given that most interactions start with searching for the icon for the application you wish to use, characteristics affecting the efficacy of icon search are important. This study mimicked icon search on mobile devices in order to examine which characteristics were most important in determining speed of search and ease of interaction. Given what is known of visual search processing, it was not surprising that visual complexity was the primary determinant of search speed. The visual aesthetic appeal of the icons, often thought to be so important, had no significant effect on search time for icons. The reasons for this are discussed in the commentary on the role of visual complexity and aesthetic appeal when used in mobile application icon design.


Icon design Visual search Evaluation Complexity Appeal 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mick Smythwood
    • 1
    Email author
  • Siné McDougall
    • 2
  • Mirsad Hadzikadic
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.Bournemouth UniversityPooleUK

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