I'm trying to design an icon that represents "active apps/activities" in a very simple way so that the icon remains clear even when at 50% of the size show below (left).

enter image description here

As you might have noticed (right ->) I failed at my first attempt to represent this "active apps" menu. What I created for it is embarrassingly bad, partially because I made the icon out of HTML/CSS purely, in a rush.

The menu:

  • Displays active apps.
  • Rests below the area of the image shown, and rises when the icon is clicked or dragged, pushing the 3 icons upward, to remain above it.
  • Contains "windows" of different activities being done.
  • This menu showing a user's activity is inspired by iOS's "open apps" menu (to give a better idea of what it's like).

Basically it's a slide-up activity menu with icons anchored to the top.

I'm trying to represent this menu in an obvious way, but this is difficult to do considering this interface is for mobile devices and the icons need to remain simple and clear, and balanced within the volume of a square the size of the icon shown on the left.

How can I do this?

  • I considered a bottom bar with an arrow coming upward simply demonstrating that the icon pulls something upward, and the user would soon learn the purpose, but that unfortunately looks like an "upload" icon. – Viziionary Jun 5 '15 at 21:50
  • Bottom bar with an arrow is also universally used for "eject" – Scott Jun 5 '15 at 22:22

Perhaps a stacked icon could work well in this case - as you say it displays multiple (or 1) active apps and many windows within so this could be used to show the multitude of items? See some nice inspiration here: https://www.flaticon.com/search?word=stack

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