Nov 3, 2018

Why icons grew popular in user interfaces

Because they make the UI more graphically pleasing. And when done appropriately, they can give your app visual personality. That's two good things.

Moreover, an icon can often replace a long descriptive group of words. As screens get smaller, this is very welcomed. 

But herein lies the design trap, because most icons are unclear. They sometimes confuse people. What good has a beautiful interface if it's unclear? Hence it's simple: only use an icon if its message is a 100% clear to everyone. Or combine tooltip with icon.