Using XP icons to enhance software usability

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The use of icons in software application development is indisputable. But it is also a matter of fact that not many software developers give much importance to the icons that they make use of, little realizing the potential that icons exhibit in marketing their software. Most software providers make use of low quality free icons that don?t look professional in the least. The use of such low quality icons can make their software look inferior and complex resulting into low customer satisfaction. Discussed in this article is the importance of well designed XP style icons in improving a software program?s marketability and the solution to purchase and download XP icons at low costs.

Importance of well designed icons in your software applications

  1. Professionally designed XP style icons can help in easy navigation resulting into a user friendly interface
  2. XP Icons reduce the overall complexity of the software at the same time reducing space, in-turn improving the look and feel
  3. Well designed software icons can eliminate any language problems that your end users are likely to experience making an application universally acceptable
  4. Custom made XP icons can provide a unique identity to your software applications

How proper use of professional icons can improve your software?s marketability

1.) Creating the first impression

The first prominent feature that a user looks in your software is the interface (like looking at screenshots of the application) and not the source code. If your software program?s interface looks crappie and tough to use, then chances are that your software won?t sell. Most software programs make use of low quality icons that can give the impression that the software is of inferior quality.

Professionally designed XP icons can help hugely in improving a software application?s user interface. The term ?XP? here needs to be emphasized as XP icons have great features like professional illumination, definitive shadow effects and smooth edges. In addition, the use of proper alpha channel in XP icons helps them blend flawlessly into any background they are merged with. This removes the problems of jagged edges and adds to the professionalism. This is the precise reason why the demand for XP icons is constantly increasing in the market.

2.) Enhancing the Software usability

There is no debating the fact that the ultimate goal of every software organization is to increase the usability of their software products. In fact usability defines a software product and basically includes the time taken by the user to get accustomed to the application, understand functions and gather concepts that help him maximize the extent to which he can use the software.

Here again the user interface plays a major role in improving the usability of the software and for that matter of any application. The easier the user interface the better the usability and better the sales. Icons used in the software play a major role in improving its usability. Professional XP icons designed to perfection and used sensibly can enhance the usability of the software in a major way at the same time giving the software a unique identity and appeal.

3.) Improving the user experience

Improving the user experience is a challenge that every software firm has to come to terms with. User experience can be defined as the final impression that the user has developed after interacting with the software application. A good user experience would not only lead to customer retention, it may also lead to the propagation of a positive word of mouth resulting into new customer accusation. Of course the superiority of the code plays a major role in this but what is the use of a superior code if the user is not able to differentiate ?A? from ?B??

The actual layout or the user interface of the application is the one which decides the extent to which a user can get familiar with it. User experience improves when the user is able to quickly learn facts and understand concepts with ease. The user interface of the software plays a deciding role here. If the user interface leaves the user puzzled he is sure to develop a bad user experience.

One easy way of improving the user interface and thereby improve the user experience is to make use of professionally designed icons. Well designed XP icons act as visual communication tools that present accurate information to the users. In addition to giving the application a non-complex look they also help the user understand concepts easily by communicating visually (visual communication is the most powerful means of passing on information.) with him.

Problems associated with creating icons in-house

The major problem faced by software companies while creating XP icons in-house is the relative time and cost involved. XP icon creation is a tough process and requires expertise in terms of creative labor, time, software programs and quality measures. Most software companies cannot afford to have an in-house icon development team because of these very reasons. The solution here is to purchase readymade or custom made XP style icons from icon makers.

How to find quality XP style software icons online?

Search engines are the best way to locate icon providers online. Just type in a keyword like ?xp style icons? or ?professional software icons? and you can get access to a host of provides offering professional icon solutions. But the big question here is, are these icons really of professional quality? A professional quality XP icon is adept in all areas that include focus, composition, design, color depth, transparency, opacity, contrast, shape and size. This makes them look appealing and also aids in flawless blending when merged with an application?s background.

There are a handful of icon makers today who offer professional quality XP icons that can be used even for high end applications. One such particularly excellent site that offers unique and highly professional XP style icons is Icongalore.com. This site particularly developed to cater to the needs of software developers offers high quality XP icons at very affordable costs and in addition also undertakes orders for custom icons. The price of icon packages starts at as low as $45 and the icons look mesmerizingly appealing and professional. A couple of more sites that offers quality XP icons are iconexperience.com and iconpharm.com.

To get an idea about how a quality icon should look like and what features it should carry check out the Microsoft XP style icon style guidelines

Creating customized icons for your software

Having your icons custom made for your applications is very much an option available today. There are many icon providers who offer icon customization services for software developers in addition to offering readymade icons and most of them would be able to deliver the custom icons within 5 - 6 working days depending on your order. Some good icon providers who offer icon customization services are Icon Galore and Icon Pharm.


Publication Date: Thursday 3rd February, 2005
Author: Thomas Wall View profile

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