July 8, 2015

"[N]ot long into my tenure as a Facebook designer I found something in the company glyph kit... The iconic man was symmetrical..."

"... except for his spiked hairdo but the lady had a chip in her shoulder. After a little sleuthing I determined that the chip was positioned exactly where the man icon would be placed in front of her, as in the ‘friends’ icon, above. I assumed no ill intentions, just a lack of consideration but as a lady with two robust shoulders, the chip offended me. I shared my complaint with a designer friend and she helpfully pointed me to the poster next to mine which proclaimed, 'Nothing at Facebook is someone else’s problem.' The lady icon needed a shoulder, so I drew it in — and so began my many month descent into the rabbit hole of icon design. After fixing her shoulder I was tempted to remove the Darth Vader-like helmet...."

27 comments:

cubanbob said...

Imagine drawing a salary for this nonsense.

tim maguire said...

After fixing her shoulder I was tempted to remove the Darth Vader-like helmet...."

The activist is never satisfied, will never declare victory and go home. There will always be another cause.

Alexander said...

Woman with chip on shoulder meets woman with chip in shoulder.

Alexander said...

I shared my complaint with a designer friend and she helpfully pointed me to the poster next to mine which proclaimed, 'Nothing at Facebook is someone else’s problem.

Well... yes. When the choice of problem-finder is woman who identified the 'problem' and the woman who was informed about the 'problem', of course the response of the informed is 'not my problem'.

But call it a hunch... I suspect that when the finder is female and the informed party is male, the cutesy inspirational poster doesn't arbitrate.

Henry said...

This is actually a very nice example of good design practice.

I'm most curious about the glyph library. How is it maintained? Is it version-controlled? How does an icon migrate from the glyph library to the actual product?

YoungHegelian said...

That's a glyph for the "generic" woman?

I thought that WAS a glyph for a generic Darth Vader!

The Dark Side of the Force is very active on social media.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

After a little sleuthing I determined that the chip was positioned exactly where the man icon would be placed in front of her, as in the ‘friends’ icon, above.

The negative space in the female form is designed to be filled by the corresponding part in the male form.

tim in vermont said...

... here again, I placed the lady first.

Wow, talk about transgressive!

Plus she managed to get rid of that whole socially constructed sexual dimorphism.

I try to question all icons

Sure you do.

On the internet, everybody gets to be a political officer!

tim in vermont said...

Men are bigger than women because we hog all the food as children.

damikesc said...

So the woman was too inept to make a basic icon alteration. Got it.

Women's college grad, eh? Shocker. I bet your tech skills are super-duper strong because changing icons, really, is fucking high level tech work. I bet nobody could pretty easily do what you were incapable of doing.

I particularly loved that the man being in front was sexist but the woman in front was equality. Somehow. She couldn't pull of side by side silhouettes of the same size? Really? You ADMIT that? And the author thinks that what she did was laudable? If women avoid tech fields, it's because idiots like her make people assume that women can't do shit technologically.

It's doubly ironic since the commenters did what she couldn't do. Well, they were there earlier. Comments are now kinda hard to find. Odd.

Apparently, what Facebook really needs is pathetic feminism SJW bullshit.

This is actually a very nice example of good design practice.

Don't see how. For friends, instead of a man "ahead" of a man and a woman, it's now a woman "ahead" of two men. Seems like a markedly worse design if she was honest about her intentions.

damikesc said...

I try to question all icons

I know that's the first thing I think when I hear a woman graduated from a women's college --- that she questions things. Really.

And she wants ideas for fixes to Facebook icons.

I already mentioned that the new icon is more sexist than the original. I'm betting she won't question her icon...

tim in vermont said...

Truth be told, the old icon was hideous. I just always figured that was to goad people to replace it with a photo.

rhhardin said...

Maybe it could be a plot of a romantic comedy.

There are worse plots.

The girl could have a chip on her shoulder and it would be a literary effect.

EMD said...

I thought it was Darth Vader in a hoodie.

Now, the woman stands in front of the man, like a human shield.

Bryan C said...

"Imagine drawing a salary for this nonsense."

Imagine being responsible for actual work, and instead spending time humoring people who draw a salary for this nonsense.

damikesc said...

Imagine being responsible for actual work, and instead spending time humoring people who draw a salary for this nonsense.

It's Facebook. Actual work seems to not be vital.

I still want to get why Henry Ford was a "robber baron" for employing, directly or indirectly, untold millions while Zuckerburg, who makes more money and employs exponentially fewer, isn't.

T J Sawyer said...

"I shared my complaint with a designer friend" - classical female response. A man would have fixed the icon, figured out how to update the library and told his friend, "I fixed that screwly icon last night."

Sigivald said...

I still want to get why Henry Ford was a "robber baron" for employing, directly or indirectly, untold millions while Zuckerburg, who makes more money and employs exponentially fewer, isn't.

Easy.

Ford wasn't, and neither is Zuckerberg.

(To the extent the term means anything other than the speaker's disapproval of the target - which is to say "not much" - the term means "someone who makes their money by screwing the little guy, and perhaps leveraging political power for unfair advantage.

But Facebook costs you, as a user, exactly $0, and hasn't had to rely on the State for cozy land grants (the railroad "barons") or tax preference or regulatory gimmes.)

EMD said...

But Facebook costs you, as a user, exactly $0,

How much do you value your privacy?

mccullough said...

The page boy hairstyle is part of the women's restroom iconography along with the knee length dress.

Bill said...

The chip on her shoulder makes her a Woman of Her Time.

tim in vermont said...

The nick out of the shoulder looks like a cape; with the Darth Vader helmet it all works.

netmarcos said...

Facebook is a prime example the adage of "if you're not paying for it, you ARE the product being sold."

Birches said...

The epitome of first world problems. I was shocked, SHOCKED to read she was a graduate of a woman's college. Is it just me or did it take longer to read the medium article than it should have to change the freakin icon?

Laslo Spatula said...

The 'chip missing' side looks like a thinner woman.

If I saw two girls in silhouette from the back looking like the right and left side of the icon I know which one I would approach.

I am Laslo.

David said...

6 years out of Wellesley, World travel. Doting parents who seem to spend money on her. Fifteen minutes of fame at a young age. And she has accomplished absolutely nothing.

Unknown said...

Somebody's got a chip on their shoulder, and it's not the icon.