How to represent 'random' with an icon


I've seen many times an icon to represent "random" that looks like this:

enter image description here

But does anyone else feel this icon is awkward?

I can understand what it wants to express, but it's just not that straight forward. People have to think about it to really understand what it's referring to.

What would be another alternative to this icon?

5/25/2017 1:28:00 AM

Accepted Answer

I also find the crossed-arrows icon to be awkward. While working on a music app, I needed an icon for a "play random song" action. I considered the crossed arrows but didn't use it because:

  1. I just don't find it intuitive - it doesn't express a "random" action to me, and
  2. If anything, I associate this kind of icon with a random mode, rather than a random action. That is, there is a sequence of things happening (e.g. songs), and pressing this icon will select a playing mode where every successive song is chosen randomly. I just wanted a one-time random song.

I was browsing wikipedia on my phone and saw their "random article" icon, which is a dice. That seemed perfect for my situation, because it's intuitive, easily represented in an icon, and implies a one-time action initiated by the user.

You can see the icon in situ by going to the mobile Wikipedia site, then opening the sidebar menu via the 3-bars icon in the top left: - here's a screenshot:

Wikipedia's Random Icon

And here you can see the dice icon in my app (I re-created it):

Answerers Example

Hope that helps. I'm happy to share the Illustrator file of my version of this icon if you would find it useful.

7/14/2013 6:29:00 PM