The Share Icon on Windows Phone

October 27, 2011 — 3 Comments

I recently wrote about the different ‘share icons’ that are being used on various mobile platform but one that really stands out (and not in a good way) is the Windows Phone icon.  The Windows Phone icon looks like this

appbar.share.rest

A gift or present image.  Now I guess it could mean ‘share’ or ‘give something to someone’ and in our case would mean ‘giving them a link to some content’ but using a ‘gift’ as a share icon didn’t make sense to me but because I believe in using what is provided in the platform, I went with the standard icon, until now.

With Windows 8 developer preview recently being available for download, I of course installed it and played with it. I did notice they did have the functionality to share things but they did not use the standard share icon (the gift) as in Windows Phone.  Considering Windows Phone uses the Metro Design Language and Windows 8 also uses the Metro Design Language, I found it strange that a new icon was used.

image_thumb107_thumb[3]

This icon is the Open Share Icon by Shareaholic or at least looks very similar to it.

Share1_thumb[4]

So what is a developer to do again?  Well, since I did not like the ‘gift’ share icon I decided to start using this icon in our Windows Phone apps instead of the ‘gift’ icon.  Yes, this does go against my previous advice of being consistent on the platform but rules are meant to be broken!  I’m pretty confident that changing the ‘share icon’ on Windows Phone will not cause any confusion with users but I’ll have to wait and see.  I’m also assuming since Windows 8 uses Metro and Windows Phone uses Metro, I think they will align everything properly in terms of the Metro Design Language (let’s hope they also bring the OSes together since Win8 will support ARM!)

Now if you want to use this icon you can download it at the Open Share Icon website.  If you want to include it in your Windows Phone app, here is a share icon you can use in the Application Bar. If you read my article on ‘Theme Aware Icons’ you can also use this piece of XAML within a page which essentially renders a Path

So what do you think, is it a good idea to deviate from the standard platform share icon?  Share your thoughts via comments here or via twitter @MarkArteaga!

3 responses to The Share Icon on Windows Phone

  1. I agree with you completely, the current "official" Windows Phone share icon does not immediately convey the desired action and I frequently check the text label on the app bar to check what it means in different apps.

    I also agree that the Share icon in Windows 8 is a much better one (hadn’t realised it’s origins, though) and would much rather see the gift box replaced with that one.

  2. Just be aware that nothing in wp7 uses that icon to share stuff. So it’s more of a one person used it, others copied thing. But not wp7 per se.

    The one on win8 is great indeed.

  3. These pieecs really set a standard in the industry.

Leave a Reply to Mahala Cancel reply