First hotel versions didn’t have the options we’re used to these days. There was a time there were no private rooms. You could walk around, chat and send messages, so the toolbar was simple. It also used to be on the bottom, in a fixed-size popup window, as opposed the the resizable, any size playing area of current hotel.
Private rooms came to be, and with that the catalogue to furnish them. Pretty soon this version of the toolbar will have been followed by the next. Financing before will have been done with ads and games, but now we’re talking about virtual - paid for - furniture and with that comes the need to offer support. The ‘Wallet’ and ‘Call for help’ icons are a logical expansion - customer is king.
Meanwhile, the ‘Navigation’ icon was a representation of the English hotel, when more international hotels arrived this was replaced with current icon, though Swiss, Japanese and maybe other hotels had to live with it.
The new icon is somewhat incongruous, not being ‘isometric’ like the others.
Then, with introduction of Trax (v13, June 2007), also the ‘Mute’ button is introduced. For this the icons needed to be a bit closer to eachother, so there’s little space for new icons. New functions like the ‘Tutorial’ for new users (aborted after a while) are being implemented differently.
Version 21 (March 2008) solved this space problem by making the Mute and Help icons smaller and stacking them, and introduced the ‘Events’ button.
Version 22 (May 2008) has less space problems anymore, as the hotel went widescreen (still, smallscreen option inside for people on lower resolutions). We’re seeing a major update to most of the existing icons, and a new - chat - icon being introduced.
Major changes break user habits, Habbo wants you to find stuff easily though. They simply send the picture to the left around, which tells all there is to say at a glance ;).
And v24 (July 2008) introduces, with games becoming free, a new ‘joystick’ icon to get you the BB2/Snowstorm dialogs. To make room, purse got integrated into the catalogue, as is its icon.
Once they released memorial furniture, for the hand, hotel view and a - not even that long there - loading screen. What would have been cool is the purse to have been materialized into a piece of furniture, preferrably with some flies above. It left very silently…
The 31st of May, 2009, Habbo went into private, soon public beta (v34+). The bottom toolbar was replaced with a toolbar on the left. At same time, the fixed width/height Habbo popup was left behind. All icons had some major work done, turned animated on hover, and well, nothing the same anymore. Let’s have a look at the new icons (hover them for animated version, when available):