If you tried to “like” something on Facebook today, you may have had your entire worldview rocked. Finally, after years of people hounding the social media giant for a “dislike” button, they made a change. Now, instead of just “liking” a post, you can also “Love” it, say “Haha,” “Wow,” “Sad,” and “Angry.”
Already Facebook has integrated the new “like” functions (called “Reactions”) on desktop, tablet and mobile. Above all, the increased shift to mobile use was a driving force behind the innovation. Today, 90 percent of Facebook users primarily access the platform on a mobile device. The development team realized that commenting on mobile was more difficult, and simply “liking” something wasn’t as nuanced as many other reactions. Julie Zhuo, a product design director at Facebook who worked on the reactions product said, “People needed a way to leave feedback that was quick, easy, and gesture-based.”
After running through many iterations of test-emojis to accompany the new reactions, Zhuo and her team settled on animating them. “When we started animating them, everyone instantly got it,” she said. The universal emotions mimic how users around the world use Facebook, chosen from the short, one-word comments people would leave on posts. Now, when people use the reaction buttons, the three most-selected will appear beneath the post; when clicked on, a full reaction-breakdown appears.
Vyvyan Evans, a professor of linguistics at Bangor University who studies the use of emoji in communication worked along side the team, to help study which were reactions most pertinent and appropriate for Facebook users. “This is an obvious step,” she said, “To be honest, the only surprise I have is that it’s taken them till now to do it.”