Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Teams, and the importance of color to UI

It happened again, I clicked on the wrong icon in my taskbar.

In my past life, a big focus of our UI/UX design focused on the importance of visual feedback in the user experience.

Location, Color, and Iconography

We frequently told our partners that the location, color, and iconography of quick access items matter more than just about anything else!

Think about the daily use of your smartphone. Where you put an app on your home screen and what colors and icons are used are so important to locating it.

We once performed an exercise for a client where we simply re-organized common HR tasks and gave them proper iconography. This process reduced HR tickets by a significant margin, by itself, saving them money.

It is that simple.

All Purple Everything

So why do I write about this?

Having moved from a “Google” shop to one that uses Microsoft products, I see the importance of these concepts rearing their heads with Microsoft OneNote and Teams.

I cannot tell you how frequently I accidentally click on one of these icons in my taskbar, when trying to open the other.

Why? The visual design of the iconography and colors are so similar that the human eye and brain sometimes mistakes the two. Consider all of your apps having the same colors/iconography and multiply this concept and you will see why not distinguishing iconography, color, or location will lead to problems with recurring navigation.

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