I’ve got an icon problem. Look at the screen snip here: it shows a section of my Mac OS X dock, with icons for (from top to bottom) Mail, Firefox, NetNewsWire, MarsEdit, YummyFTP, CocoaMySQL and BBEdit.
It’s the five round icons in the middle that are causing me problems: they all look the same. I don’t mean “look the same” in the sense that they are visually identical, but rather in that flick of a second when I’m navigating from one application to the next, or selecting an application from the dock, they’re similar enough so that it’s easy to confuse one for the other.
About half a dozen times a day, I find myself, say, clicking on YummyFTP when I meant to click on CocoaMySQL.
I’m not sure if this is a failure of the OS, or a failure of the icon designers, or a failure of my own visual processor. Or not a failure at all.
But it does seem that a lot of OS X applications use an orby sphere as the superstructure of their icon — perhaps inevitable given the whole “worldwide” part of the www — and that is the basis of the visual confusion.