Facebook Reactions Article Review

A team was assembled at Facebook to develop additional reactions and expand beyond just the “like” button. A lot of work went into designing the reactions based on top trends, adding animation, and making sure that the reactions are universally understood.

This article provides a lot of insight into what is necessary in order to make a function of social media universal and international. Because Facebook is used worldwide the Reactions team had to consider that friends react to posts of other friends who might be in another country. This is important for how Facebook functions in order to maintain its purpose of connecting people. Animations were one solution to the problem of understandability. They had to approach the development of these animations with the intent that they would enhance the experience of the user and enhance the intent of their reaction.

When creating the different reactions the team realized that even the slightest change to an icon could make it lose it’s meaning or make it look too similar to another reaction. Minimizing the amount of reactions available to the user helped solve this problem. Adding animation also helped. They also faced the challenge of how to display the reactions added to a post. At first attempt they displayed every reaction the post received with a total number of each reaction. They learned that this worked well with posts that only had a small amount of reactions but not so much with posts that had several. Posts that received four or five different reactions made the post overwhelming and crowded. The solution was to only display the top three majority reactions.

They mention that this project, like all design projects, is never really done or finished to completion. They will continue to evolve it as people evolve. I found this article to be very interesting, particularly in terms of formulating how to make the feature universally understood. That is a blind spot for me. I don’t have a lot of experience with making design universal but it is interesting to learn about. Facebook is complex in this way because it’s user base in worldwide. I also found the results of the most commonly used emojis to be interesting, as well as how they narrowed down which ones to use for the final composition.


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