The Media Player Icon Debate: Play Icon vs. Pause Icon

The Media Player Icon Debate: Play Icon vs. Pause Icon

The Media Player Icon Debate: Play Icon vs. Pause Icon

Media player Pause-and-Play button iconography has sparked heated discussion among UX designers. Which icon, play or pause, should be shown when media is playing? This is a common question. To find out which method offers a better user experience, let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Displaying the Pause Icon During Playback:

Quick Detection: No waiting around for users to figure out what the media player is doing right now. You can tell that the media is now paused because of the pause icon.
Consistency: This approach maintains consistency with other media players and user interfaces (your traditional radio usually has both), where the pause icon is universally recognized as a symbol for pausing playback.

Not Everyone Will Understand: Seeing the pause icon while the media is playing might be confusing for some people. They might be confused since they were expecting to see the play symbol.

Displaying the Play Icon During Playback:
Simple Notification: Users are alerted instantly when the play symbol appears, indicating that the media is now playing.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the play icon makes it seem like clicking it will start or resume playback, which may entice more users.

Possibility of User Ignorance: When the media is currently playing, users may mistakenly believe that the play icon indicates starting playback instead of pausing it.

Although both methods have their advantages, I feel that the pause indicator should be shown while the media is playing and if you go for the play icon, you should probably add a glow animation. But in the end, it all comes down to the media player’s surroundings and the preferences and expectations of the intended audience.

In this argument, where do you stand? Which method do you think offers the most beneficial experience for the user?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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