Track record button should be red circle instead of green triangle

Gordon Lamb shared this question 4 years ago
Answered

Hey guys!


The track record button as of the latest few versions uses a traditional play icon (green triangle); I think it would make more sense to make it the usual red circle to more clearly indicate that the function does in fact record data.

Replies (9)

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Hi Gordon,


interesting question... There are a few reasons why we decided for this design:


1) green is an international colour of START! or GO!

2) arrow is an international symbol of PLAY in the sense "let's play = let's have a good time"

3) we wanted to distinguish the button in colour from other recording controlling buttons (STOP is red, PAUSE is orange) so that it is clearly readable outside in the sunshine

4) people are used to this design from many sport tracking apps, e.g. Endomondo

5) we wanted to be different from our direct competitor Viewranger which uses a red symbol

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I think the green arrow conveys its purpose just fine. Like Michal said, green-arrow for go. I've never confused it with any other possible purpose (track playback?) other than recording a track.

You're correct that the circle is, historically, the symbol that represents recording. However, it is frequently seen next to the other control symbols including pause (two vertical bars), stop (square), play (triangle), etc. I wonder how many people recognize what a circle represents when it is displayed by itself?

I'm old enough to remember the genesis of the symbols from the days of tape-cassette recorders. You would have to press BOTH the Play and Record buttons simultaneously to begin recording. Pressing the Record button alone wouldn't work. I'm sure no one wants Locus Map to be that faithful to the past! :)

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Hey, far be it for me to complain; Locus is by far the best navigation app on any platform, ever. :)

I still think the play button is confusing for what is funadmentally a recording option (fun or not, haha), but I'm no UI expert!

Consider: if you did want to add an additional "playback" button on that screen (which, for example, displayed the progress on a moving map or something), what symbol would you use?

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Yes, you're right. If you wanted a "playback" button then it would make sense to use an arrow (triangle). However, that's a highly hypothetical scenario because what exactly would happen during track playback? Would it be like Google Earth's "Time Slider" animation where time is accelerated and an icon races along the track? It's fun to watch it once or twice but the novelty wears off fast.

Here's a mockup of your proposal. I changed the color of the Stop button from red to gray to prevent confusion with the red Record button. I'm not sure it makes anything easier to understand. Judge for yourself.


Don't forget that the choice of a red for Record made sense back in the old days. It was a warning that you were about to overwrite the contents of anything on your tape-cassette. In fact, having to press Record and Play together made it extra difficult to accidentally overwrite the cassette (good UI design). Nowadays, "red" for "record" is meaningless because there's (almost) no danger of overwriting anything. Everything you record is appended to the storage medium.

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Nice attempt Taras, thanks for it.


From my personal point of view, most logical seems to be green! circle like "green as positive start of activity" and good old white circle symbol for record. "Stop" then should remain red with white rectangle.


Anyway we made some usability tests years ago and result were not clear, so I'm sure, here is not one best answer.

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Yeah, green triangle definitely is confusing. But only once - when you use it for the first time. There are many things where Locus is innovative and goes its own way. Maybe this is one of them :)

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True, the origin of the red button may have been danger of overwriting, but if you Google image search for "record button," the top 100 results are all a circle. :)


If you search for "play button," they're all green with a triangle.


Anyway, as I said, I am no UI designer!

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You have to wonder how much effort Jony Ive invested in convincing his team that the user-interface for iOS had to lose skeuomorphism. "But Jony, the top 100 search results for 'user interface' all show photorealistic 3D widgets!" ;)

Nevertheless, if you feel it ought to be a circular red button, go ahead and post it as an Idea. Feel free to use the mockup image I created.

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Good day,

quite old topic which I would like to close.

We made few more usability tests and result of all tests are that "green play" button cause no troubles and it was clear to users what happen. I also checked few bigger apps that support recording of tracks and there does not exists united pattern for this behavior, but green color for start dominate.

So I have to thank for nice discussion and suggest: get used to it ;).

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