I’m a big fan of labelling icons which may be considered too ambiguous for some users.
If the hamburger button impacts discoverability, and is seen as bad UX, why do most mobile sites…
Chris Kernaghan

Me, too! Frankly, even as an IT person I often have to pause and wonder what some unlabeled icons might mean*. That always feels like tedious hieroglyph deciphering. And if I’m having that problem, with a background in both IT and design, you can be sure “normal” people have an even harder time. It just unnecessarily decreases understandability of a design!

Not labeling might be okay for the top 1% of most common icons, but for everything else, a proper label goes a long way. Apple used to be golden at this, I really loved that, but unfortunately they have dropped a lot of labels in the last 10 or so years.

*I’m writing this comment on the iPhone app of Medium, which is a prime example: above the keybord there’s a row of unlabeled icons. The image icon and @ icon are easy enough. Quotes and lists I understand, too (although Medium’s way of formatting is so weird because you don’t select text first — really breaking a pattern IMO). But why is the formatting/text size button two differently sized Ts? Normally I’d expect two As. You can toggle two different types of headlines, okay, but wasn’t there a fineprint option once, too? In any case, I always need a short moment to “get” it. Particularly because bold/cursive and link options are in their usual place after selecting text. That separation of word and paragraph styling is so stupid!

And then there is that hotdog icon with the three hot dogs between the buns. Could also be a goth bracelet with spikes, or a UFO. Never knew what it does.

Now I do, and I still think it’s an incredibly bad icon.