Snap Inc. filed to go public today, and part of the paperwork involved in setting up its initial public offering includes visual descriptions of how the Snapchat app actually works. This is neat development, if only because Snap has long prized its obtuse design as a hip badge of honor for younger smartphone owners. Now, these illustrations are offering a fascinating inside look at how every facet of Snapchat is built and to what end. It will surely be useful for the many Wall Street investors who have likely never used Snapchat and would be incapable of wrapping their heads around it even if they tried.
For all the flak CEO Evan Spiegel and crew have gotten over the years for “bad design” or “crappy UI,” these descriptions also make clear that every part of the app has a distinct purpose and every screen a carefully constructed layout. Here, for instance, is how Snapchat constructs its home screen, which notably was the first mainstream social app to open straight into a camera:
It’s also a testament to the ever-expanding complexity of the app that Snap put together multiple versions of these diagrams to fully explain every bit of the software. There’s illustrations detailing how lenses work, including sponsored lenses from companies like Taco Bell. There’s also detailed breakdowns of the “send to...” screen and the chat window.
Here’s the rest of the illustrations found in Snap’s S-1 filing, which you can read in full at this link.