Confusing icons

In the good old days of Windows 3.1 I used to just have one or two web pages open at a time – sometimes more if I was feeling daring. Now I seem to have about 20 tabs in my main web browser, and half a dozen more in various other web browsers. Hence the favicons that appear on the browser tabs are an invaluable guide when I am trying to find a web page I know I have open. The titles of the pages just don’t help when there are so many pages as each tab has only a small bit of real estate in which to display.
browsertabs.JPG
More and more websites use these little icons now, and of course it gets harder for web managers to create a distinct icon for their site. Designing in 16 x 16 pixels is quite a challenge. Hence I keep getting different icons mixed up. I regularly get confused between Google and the Guardian:
favicon-google.jpg
My worst confusion is between Mendeley and Nature Network, with Seesmic more distinctive but bearing a vague similarity.
favicon-mendeley.jpg favicon-NN.jpg favicon-seesmic.jpg
What are your favourite look-alike favicons? Or is it only me?

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we move further from print to electronic resources to open research, and become more embedded in research workflows.
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4 Responses to Confusing icons

  1. Heather Etchevers says:

    I don’t know how you avoid spending hours getting images put up there, but compare Google to the travel reservation site run by the French national train system, SNCF.
    For reasons of available RAM, I usually have to keep my tabs limited to where there is some text available (9-10 max). When there are more I usually dump off many of them into a folder which sits up in my Bookmarks bar for a few months (two up there are from April and May, to the latter of which I’ve been adding in June and July as well) before I open up a few of the links again and throw the rest away. Repeat as desired.

  2. vishal kalel says:

    I am bit efficient in spotting quite similar favicons.
    What bothers me is the favicons in Disguise..

  3. Frank Norman says:

    Heather – yes that does look similar.
    I usually leave tabs open as a reminder to do something, but then other priorities get in the way. The best way to clear them is when the browser crashes or freezes up and often they all disappear.
    I should do some research on nifty bookmark management tools.

  4. Frank Norman says:

    Vishal -I love it! I’m sure that must have been the original inspiration for Google favicon.

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