An icon is a small graphical representation of a program, file, or function typically displayed on a computer or mobile device screen. Icons serve as visual cues that aid users in navigating and interacting with software interfaces or digital environments. They simplify the user experience by conveying meaning and functionality through easily recognizable and intuitive symbols.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Icon” is /ˈaɪkɒn/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Icon is a high-level, general-purpose programming language that has a rich set of built-in functions and operators, making it easy to learn and use for a wide range of applications.
  2. The language is particularly well-suited for processing text and data structures, thanks to its string scanning capabilities and support for advanced data structures such as lists, sets, and tables.
  3. Icon has been used in various fields, including artificial intelligence, simulations, education, and software development, due to its flexibility, versatility, and strong support for diverse data types and algorithms.


The technology term “icon” is important because it serves as a visually intuitive representation of a digital function, program, or file, and significantly enhances the user experience.

Icons are indispensable elements of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) found on computers, smartphones, and numerous other technological devices.

They simplify user interactions, making it significantly easier for individuals to understand and access various functions or applications without relying on lengthy text-based instructions.

Additionally, icons support efficient navigation and organization of digital platforms, enabling users from diverse backgrounds and age groups to effortlessly use technology in their daily lives, ultimately promoting widespread adoption of digital devices globally.


Icons play a crucial role in improving the user experience and overall functionality of digital platforms, such as computers, smartphones, and websites. Serving as visual representations of applications, actions, or features, these small graphical symbols enable users to easily navigate through platforms by simplifying tasks and enhancing user-friendliness.

Icons can be found in nearly every digital interface, whether for launching an app, searching for content, or accessing settings. They help users to intuitively understand how to efficiently interact with software, as well as provide a sense of familiarity across various platforms due to the standardization of common icon designs.

By using aesthetically appealing, consistent, and recognizable designs, icons are able to effortlessly guide users’ attention to important interactive elements, ultimately leading to improved accessibility and user satisfaction. As a communication tool, icons condense and convey complex information into easily digestible visuals.

This simplification is particularly valuable for those who face language barriers, as icons can transcend linguistic limitations and decrease the need for text translations. Overall, the purpose of an icon is not only to serve as an attractive graphical element on a digital platform but also to make technology more accessible, efficient, and enjoyable for all users.

Examples of Icon

Icon is a high-level, general-purpose programming language with a large number of features for processing and manipulating data, especially strings and data structures. Here are three real-world examples of the technology:

Data Mining and Parsing: Icon’s powerful string processing capabilities make it suitable for data mining and parsing tasks, such as analyzing log files, extracting information from web pages, or parsing data from various file formats. For example, cybersecurity companies can use Icon to identify patterns in log files or other data sources to detect intrusions or suspicious activities.

Natural Language Processing: Icon is often used for natural language processing tasks because of its support for various data structures, pattern matching, and string manipulation functions. Researchers or software developers can use Icon to implement algorithms for text classification, sentiment analysis, or information extraction from textual data.

Simulation and Modeling: Icon’s advanced data structures and control structures allow it to be used in simulation and modeling tasks for scientific or engineering applications. Icon can be used to develop algorithms for solving complex problems in areas such as physics, biology, or economics, that require efficient manipulation of large data sets and the implementation of complex rules or equations.

Icon FAQ

What is an icon?

An icon is a small, graphical representation of a file, folder, application, or function on a computer or digital interface. Icons are designed to be easily recognizable and visually appealing, helping users navigate and interact with a system more efficiently.

What are the common types of icons?

Icons can be categorized into various types, such as system icons, file icons, application icons, and function/feature icons. System icons represent core system elements like the Recycle Bin or the Start Menu, while file icons indicate specific file types like Word documents or PDFs. Application icons represent different apps, and function/feature icons depict functions, such as print, save, or search.

What are the standard icon formats?

Typical icon formats include PNG, ICO, and SVG. PNG is widely used due to its support for transparency and quality lossless compression. ICO is a Windows-specific format for icons, while SVG is a vector format that allows for scalability without losing quality.

How do I create custom icons for my website or app?

To create custom icons, you can use design software like Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, or Figma. Start by designing your icon in a square artboard, typically at a size of 512×512 pixels or higher for optimum quality. When you are satisfied with the design, export the icon as a PNG, ICO, or SVG file, then implement it into your website or app.

How do I change the icon of an application on my computer?

To change an application’s icon on your computer, follow these steps:
1. Locate the application’s shortcut or executable file.
2. Right-click on the file and select ‘Properties.’
3. Navigate to the ‘Shortcut’ or ‘General’ tab.
4. Click ‘Change Icon,’ browse for your custom icon file (usually in ICO format), and select it.
5. Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes.
Please note that the process may vary slightly depending on your operating system.

Related Technology Terms


  • Graphic User Interface (GUI)
  • Desktop Environment
  • Application Icon
  • Favicon
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)


Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents