Did you notice the subtle yet socially groundbreaking changes on Facebook? Social network (finally) put women at the forefront in its latest, redesigned Friends and Groups icons.
It is likely that not many Facebook users took notice of the way friends and groups icons are designed? The friends icon, for example, up until recently consisted of a male and female silhouette, with the male one looking obviously larger and pushed to the forefront, while the female one was the smaller one, 'hiding' in the backgoround, literally in the shadow of the man.
Caitlin Winner, Facebook design manager, said that - being an educated woman - it was difficult to ignore the symbolism of the said icon. The last straw was when Ms Winner took a look at the female silhouette on its own and discovered it was very poorly designed in the first place. "The iconic man was symmetrical except for his spiked hairdo but the lady had a chip in her shoulder," she said. Even though Ms Winner concluded that detail was not mistreated on purpose, she thought it to be rather unacceptable and decided to make things right.
"My first idea was to draw a double silhouette, two people of equal sizes without a hard line indicating who was in front. Dozens of iterations later, I abandoned this approach after failing to make an icon that didn't look like a two headed mythical beast. I placed the lady, slightly smaller, in front of the man," said Ms Winner.
She decided to give the female icon a little makeover as well, redesigning her "Darth Vader-like" hairdo by giving it a "slightly more shapely bob". Moreover, she also reconfigured the group friends icon and put the woman out front, while the two men with two different hair cuts are placed behind her.
She expected her superiors to be dissatisfied with the change, however their response was quite the opposite. The new icons have been accepted and adopted without any major announcements. So far, the new icons can be seen on mobile apps, but not necessarily yet on your desktop.