AIAIO: Our Blog

AIAIO: Our Blog

The pulse and reviews of Alexander Interactive

The art of the favicon

Today’s item is a guest post by Ai fender Skottey Forden.

The visual components of a website are, quite obviously, the primary impact on a user’s impression of that site. Ai takes pride in creating visually compelling sites while taking an immense amount of care with the gears grinding behind the scenes. One aspect of the visualization that is often overlooked is the shortcut/favorite icon, more simply referred to as the favicon.

This tiny 16×16-pixel icon shows up in the address bar of nearly all modern web browsers, and is generally also visible in tabs when using tabbed browsing. One might notice a favicon, but chances are good that users never dwell on it or consider it to be of much use.

When a website does not make use of a favicon, it is potentially decreasing usability and a branding opportunity. That little 16×16 symbol adds value. It is a branding element and a visual component to which a user can associate a favorite website. This holds true especially when a user opts to bookmark that site. When applied to an e-commerce website, a favicon is a crucial element.

Online businesses want customers to access a site with as little effort as possible. If a favicon has not been set, the site it will show up in lists and browsers with a generic icon, or none at all. If a user has multiple sites with a generic favicon in the list of personal bookmarks, a site will fall into a pile of other “generic” sites. This may seem mundane, but it can limit accessibility as well as brand.

Ai favicons--click to zoomOver the past month I have performed a spot-check of Ai’s client sites to validate if a favicon has been implemented. If one existed, I checked to see how up-to-date it was, based on the most recent design of the website itself. If it needed an overhaul, it got one. If there was no favicon present at all, I created one. It is not a difficult process (and it’s fun!), but one must also consider that a favicon essentially sets a brand for a website, so it’s not a trivial item, even within the confines of that tiny square.

To date, a large percentage of Ai’s client sites, as well as our own internal sites and browser-based applications, have favicons. All future Ai sites will have a favicon implemented before the launch date.