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Microsoft changes its sharing icon

Windows 10 is great but I’ve always been confused by the sharing icon, which has been quite different from other commonly accepted versions. Turns out I wasn’t the only one.

Microsoft is changing their icon, and Paula Chuchro has written a piece explaining why:

Recently, our own share icon got us thinking. Does the current visual representation convey sharing in the best way? From data in our usability labs, we’ve consistently seen people misunderstanding or looking past the icon in the user interface, especially when a label didn’t accompany it. When it stood alone, many people saw its circular shape and mistakenly interpreted it against other ring-shaped icons like sync or refresh or loading […]

In the end, we designed an icon that benefits from ubiquity and familiarity. We looked at the icons users were seeing out in the wild and tested similar variations to see which icons best represented what it meant to share. We A/B tested them against the old share icon in the Photos app, with and without labels. You may have seen us testing a few different kinds of icons in the past few months if you used the Photos app.

I’m always impressed when a massive company like Microsoft can rethink and reevaluate fundamental aspects of its UI.