Web Graphics:Icons

Description: There is no doubt that the presence of graphics can greatly enhance a website when they are used in the right way. Read on to find out what role icons play.

It's the Greek word eikon that we have to thank for our modern day word icon, which in computer terms is used to describe an image which appears on our computer screen to denote a certain function or page of a website.

Icons can add a certain style to a web page, particularly if they are kept fairly uniform, and are used to liven up a menu or navigation bar. They can help to brand a company or website by taking on the colors associated with that company.

But there are also icons which are very recognizable among web users as a whole, such as those tiny icons which immediately identify bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us or Stumble Upon. In this sense an icon can be a great time and space saver - most people recognize these and it saves us from having to type long explanations about how people need to click here to bookmark the page with their favorite bookmarking service. Most people will see the symbol and know that if they click on it they'll be taken to that site to bookmark their find.

In this situation it can help to group certain icons together. If you want to encourage people to bookmark your site with as many bookmarking services as possible, make sure you keep all the relevant icons together in the same place on every page of your website. For example you could include them all in a small panel at the bottom of every article you write. By including them at the bottom instead of at the beginning you will be providing the very tools people need to bookmark the piece easily - just when they are in the right frame of mind to do exactly that.

It's clear that icons aren't just there to add a little color and functionality to your web pages. They can also be used as links and traffic building tools that can really help to strengthen the presence of your website. One small icon can be worth a thousand words - so make good use of them.

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