I’m a stickler for user interfaces. In this case, the user interface of a toaster in the break room at my office.
There’s an icon at the top of the toaster, just left of the lever you push down to insert the toast. Here’s a better picture so you can see the icon more clearly.
The icon is of a piece of bread evidently coming out of the toaster. Now, you and I know exactly what this lever is meant to do, so I can only ascertain that this icon is intended to aid someone who has simply never seen or heard of a toaster before (perhaps he/she was raised with wolves or is from another planet). The thing that’s getting me, though, is how exactly the presence of this particular icon would help this hypothetical user? Why does the arrow go up and not down? Is the icon somehow meant to convey that, after I push the toast down, I can use the same lever to get it to come back up? But in that case, what is the “cancel” button for below and to the right of the lever?
Now, to be fair, I’m trying to think of an icon myself that would convey the intended meaning, and I’m drawing a blank. It seems to me the use of a toaster is so obvious that you don’t need an icon at all. What do you think? Would the icon make more sense if the arrow went down? Would you advocate the use of an entirely different icon or no icon at all?