In a last do-or-die attempt, Snapchat has finally owned up to its complicated interface design and has decided to redesign it. The move comes with the fact that Snapchat is under pressure to expand its user base, adding to it the demand to make the app a more traditional experience.
“The new Snapchat separates the social from the media,” says Snapchat’s Co-founder Evan Spiegel in a 60-second video, which introduces users to what the big change is. “The one thing we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use. As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier,” he explains.
So what is this big change? The new design keeps friends on one side of the app and brands on the other. As usual, the app will open to the camera. The Snap camera will remain in the centre. The left side of the app will be used for sharing and discussions, because all friends-related options such as messages, photos, stories and live on one page are there. The right side now has the new ‘Discover’ page with brands and influencers. This change is not that big and not entirely new. Chat has always been to the left and brands to the right. What was confusing was how the stories tab merged content from friends and brands.
The company says on their blog, “Until now, social media has always mixed photos and videos from your friends with content from publishers and creators. While blurring the lines between professional content creators and your friends has been an interesting internet experiment, it has also produced some strange side-effects (like fake news) and made us feel like we have to perform for our friends rather than just express ourselves.”
With the new design, Snapchat says, “If an account follows you back, it’s considered a friend, and shows up on the left side of the app. If it doesn’t follow you back, it shows up on the Discover page.” Users can also personalize the Discover page by subscribing and unsubscribing according to preference.
While the company executives hope that these changes will help lead to building more conversations between groups of friends, there are chances that these might have negative consequences among those used to the previous design.
For Snapchat, this move is a risky take, given that its future depends on it. The struggle is to work towards building a new user base while maintaining the existing core users.