If you’re like me and use Google Meet and Slack calls for video conferences frequently, you might have been in the same confusion. This is what the controls look like, Slack top, Google bottom:
Slack starts with Audio ON, Video OFF
Google starts with Audio ON, Video ON
Iconography however is completely confusing, especially if you use these apps back and forth. One displays a microphone when you’re talking, the other a crossed out microphone. Am I on mute? What should I press to go on mute? (The video is even more confusing as Slack has it off by default, Google the other way around, and they use icons the opposite way.)
If a button can switch between two states, what should you display on the button: the actual state you’re in (Slack) or the action you can perform on the button (Google)? I’ve always found Slack the oddball, it never felt natural.
Zoom goes the Slack way, but at least they write labels underneath the buttons, it’s a mix of the two worlds:
Apple seems pretty consistent with this, here is FaceTime…
…and Apple Maps:
This latter is displayed on a 2D screen. Press “3D” if you want to switch to 3D map view. Seems logical, tell the user what will happen with pressing the button.
By this time I’ve learned to live with the logic of Slack, in practice I just know if it’s dark, it’s off, if light, it’s turned on. I never look at the icons.