The change took place after Caitlin victor, Facebook’s design head, noticed the “chip” in the female’s shoulder, depicting an inequality between the two figures.
“I assumed no ill intentions, just a lack of consideration but as a lady with two robust shoulders, the chip offended me”, victor said.
The ex- design of the woman in the icon showed that there was a chip on the woman’s shoulder but it was not very evident as it was overshadowed by the man. The design wasn’t also symmetric unlike that of the male icon. “I placed the lady, slightly smaller, in front of the man”, she explained.
“We are pleased to see a new Facebook Friends Icon, and appreciate that it presents a different, more powerful vision of women”, she said in a statement to NPR. “Much to my dismay”, she wrote, “not long into my tenure as a Facebook designer I found something in the company glyph kit worth getting upset about”.
Not only did she change the position of the female but gave her a slick new bob hair style to replace the “Darth Vader-like helmet”. The victor also placed the woman in front of the man and made their sizing appear more equal as a woman and a man should be treated equally.
Facebook recently made a subtle but undoubtedly important update to its friend request button.
Old icon on the left, new icon on the right. Whereas the Facebook New Groups icon displays the woman in the front and two men in the back.
Victor instituted a similar redesign of the groups icon, placing the woman in the centre and having her backed up by two men.
Winner’s initiative has struck a chord at Facebook with chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg praising her efforts. She wrote: “Last year, designer Julyanne Liang worked with engineer Brian Jew to give the non-American half of the globe an accurate world view from the notification icon”. Since then, an Asia-focused globe has also been added.
Victor now polices Facebook for oppressive icons, saying she’s “on high alert”, always questioning icons. Victor concludes. “I try to question all icons, especially those that feel the most familiar”. Which population carried briefcases and in which era?
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