Notes from the Simplicity in Web Design panel at SXSW are now online. “Someone suggested that tooltips were always useful, but someone else shot that down because of the time required.” I was that someone else. After the session I couldn’t remember whether I had made any sense or was just babbling. Apparently some if it got through. Although I may not have articulated it very well, my point was really this: Good icons are hard to design. Even the big guys like Apple and Microsoft frequently get it wrong. Icons can serve as a visual aid that guides the user in a certain direction, but don’t rely solely on your icons for meaning. Use labels, or get rid of the icons completely if they are distracting.