We Need a Ubiquitous Share Icon

The share icon is broken. There are all manner of graphic elements designed to convey the action of sharing—but because we can't settle on a single design, most of us are left confused about what button to press in order to spread our love.

Min Ming Lo writes an impassioned plea for unification of the share icon over on Pixelapse. He points out that it's a problem not just between ecosystems, but within them, too. So, while Apple, Google and Microsoft use radically different icons, they also share internal conflicts over time, too.

Apple's latest software uses an Uploader box—a simple square with an upward pointing arrow—while older software uses an outgoing tray to imply sharing. Android, meanwhile, can't decide whether to use the 3-dot network icon or the Y-shaped arrow to indicate the dissemination of information.

Elsewhere, there's even more confusion: Windows Phone has used both a circular network that looks like the Ubuntu logo and a wrapped gift to indicate sharing; the Open Share icon has tried to encourage the use of cupped hands; and the Open Hand icon had a short-lived and unsuccessful period of use.

Ultimately, Min Ming Lo suggests that it's "unlikely that we will see a convergence to a single share symbol," and admits that he uses the Outgoing Tray as his default go-to share icon. Despite that, he claims that the Android-based Y-shaped arrow seems to work the best.

I'm tempted to agree: it suggests the spreading of information from a single origin to multiple new locations, and has a pleasing vertical symmetry to its design. You, of of course, may disagree—in which case tell us what you think below. Either way, all that remains is to have Apple, Google and Microsoft agree to use one icon. That's not impossible, but don't hold your breath. [Pixelapse via Verge]