People love icons, they can figure out what a field represent or what a button does much easier. Either you develop a design for a website, or for a simple desktop application you have to use images to make it to look better and to improve significantly the user interface.

For example, if you want to make a file available to download on a website you place a file icon near so people are aware that clicking on that link will start the file download. If you want to show a mailto link place a mail icon near the link so people know that the gmail send mail or outlook form will appear.

It is said that a image worth a thousand of words, maybe an icon worth only few words, but the users will understand better what they have to do. You may think that creating those icons will take you a lot of time, but you don’t have to create them, they are available on free icons website. You don’t have to worry about copyright issues because they are free, you save a lot of work and people won’t mind if they see the same image on other websites. They will be happy because they already know what that icon means.

As I said at the beginning of the article, you don’t need to develop a website to take advantage of icons in your user interface. Even if you develop an app, for example a music app you can take advantage of freely available music icons. On desktop apps icons are more important because as you may know, text is not among the preferred elements when building the user interface. Using more icons will make the app user interface better.

To get it started and to improve your website usability, get some mail icons and add them whenever a contact email or phone is placed on your website.  People will better notice your contact details.