While I may be far from a UX guy, I do have a sort of OCD for UI elements and good design. I often joke that this combination is the worst one possible — I can identify when things are wrong, but I don’t have the skills to correct them, which must make me a pretty hilarious person to work with. Even worse is when the offending design is completely out of your control, like the kerning on the sign at the Court st. subway station. The only thing to do in these cases is blog about it, which is why I’m here today to talk about ≡.
What is ≡ in the first place?
I promptly forgot everything I learned in math class, (I know, brilliant choice for a software developer), but this chart tells me that ≡ means “identical to”. In UX design, ≡ seems to be used interchangably with ≣, which means “strictly equivalent to”. Twitter Bootstrap refers to it as “icon-align-justify”, which seemed to be its most common usage before the smartphone era.
At this point though, you can never be sure of what will happen when you click/tap/touch/fist-bump this icon.
View as list.
Drag to reorder.
Settings. (Slides from side.)
Settings. (Slides from top.)
So what’s the problem? It’s that this innocuous little guy is now being used for all sorts of disparate purposes, and every time it’s used for another action, it loses more and more of its meaning. In fact, if we take this pattern of overuse and extrapolate linearly, (which is the best way to extrapolate, come on), in a few years our interfaces may look like this:
p.s. Like this post? Read more of my inane thoughts on the Twitter.