Why I was wrong about sparkles ✨. UI for AI: sparkles revisited | by Daley Wilhelm | Jan, 2024


UI for AI: sparkles revisited.

A thinking face emoji looks up at an array of sparkle emojis on a purple background.
I needed to rethink the use of sparkles.

Last year I wrote an article detailing the origin and evolution of my favorite emoji, the sparkle. ✨ At the time, companies experimenting in the realm of artificial intelligence were using the four-pointed star icon or cluster of sparkles to represent some kind of AI capability. I criticized this trend, pointing to the nebulous meaning behind sparkles. In terms of user experience, sparkles aren’t instantly recognizable as being related to AI. Rather, they are best used to indicate a new ✨ (sparkling new) ✨ feature or something else. More specifically, I wrote,

“Sparkles are great, but they don’t have a solid meaning in the same way that a clock or calendar icon has. When tapping on a sparkle, users aren’t entirely sure what might happen next. That’s okay for new things, for features introduced with plenty of explanatory copy, but making a sparkle icon a permanent fixture in a design isn’t the best choice.”

But that was last year. Now, AI is all about the sparkles.


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