Friday, January 13, 2006


I sometimes wish that we could come up with a new icon for the Save command. This icon is a 3.5" floppy disk. It's always a 3.5" floppy disk. I think it's probably pretty safe to assume that it's going to be a 3.5" floppy disk in Office 12 and Vista too. And now the memories of floppy disks are fading away, like cassette tapes. I wonder how long we'll stick with a floppy disk.

Probably a while. I don't really know of any great alternative. The current analogies to a floppy disk are USB keys and CDs. But most normal people don't use USB keys, and you don't burn your documents directly to CD every five minutes to save your work, so a CD's pretty inappropriate. Maybe a picture of a hard drive with an arrow or a checkmark. The biggest problem with that is that fewer people know what a hard drive looks like than a floppy disk, I'd bet. Maybe something even more generic, like a green circle with a checkmark in it. Or, we could stick with the file metaphor, and make it a file cabinet or something like that. Making it a picture of a file being put into a folder would be too similar with the New and Open icons; Save needs to be very distinct.

We're in a world where there are more and more storage media... hard drives, USB keys, optical disks, network shares, flash memory, web storage services, and the more esoteric stuff... it's a shame that we didn't stick with the (so far) timeless file metaphor for the Save icon too. I wonder who's responsible for the New, Open, and Save icons as they exist today.

1 comment:

Swid said...

Off the top of my head, I'd guess someone at Xerox or Apple: the first image in this Xerox Star article has icons that look very familiar...