A huge redesign is coming to Snapchat

In today’s earnings letter to Snap investors, CEO Evan Spiegel revealed that Snapchat is working on a significant overhaul of its app. “One thing we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback.” He confirms that a redesigned, easier-to-use Snapchat is coming.

And it sounds like whatever’s on the way is far bigger than just some minor user experience tweaks. Spiegel says that “there is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application.” His full statement on the new app follows below:

One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback. As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use. There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application. We’re willing to take that risk for what we believe are substantial longterm benefits to our business.

Rethinking the way Snapchat works could certainly open the app to a huge audience of new users. Spiegel is right in calling out the usability complaints; Snap had to include a manual for using Snapchat in its IPO filing, which is a good indicator that it’s not the most intuitive software in the world.

But as Spiegel warms, drastic changes could also alienate some users and undercut Snap’s cool factor. If you’ve taken the time to learn every corner of the app and master its tricks, you get it. Now, all of that is likely going to change. The earnings letter didn’t give a release date for the new, improved Snapchat.

Spiegel also says that Snap is exploring new ways of surfacing the app’s content “in a personalized and more relevant way, while still maintaining the exploratory nature of our service.” The next sentence suggests an algorithmic sections that vary user to user could is in the plans. “We are developing a new solution that provides each of our 178 million daily active users with their own Stories experience, leveraging the tremendous benefits of machine learning without compromising the editorial integrity of the Stories platform that we have worked so hard to build,” Spiegel says.

And finally, Snapchat is “building a new version of our Android application from the ground up that we will launch in select markets before rolling it out widely.” It seems as though this is a separate project from the big remake, but we’ll see.

Comments

Nice to hear about the upcoming redesign.

People(mainly millennials) will hate and petition about the redesign for a little while, then forget about it after a week or so.

As a millenial, if that means the Android apps finally ends up sucking, I’m all for it

Yes, I’ve used it on the iPhone and it is so much better. It’s like they didn’t care about Android users.

I hope they fail as a company for that very reason.

as a millenial, I second this

Mainly millennials? Really? cause the notion that people don’t like change only became really valid with the introduction of millennials. /s

Everyone will hate it for a little while and then they’ll just keep using it if they liked Snapchat to begin with or they’ll continue to slowly abandon their engagement of it as has been the trend since it became mainstream "cool." And who knows if they actually do make an app experience that people actually like and is genuinely new and exciting maybe it’ll keep them afloat for a little longer. One things for sure Instagram will have better versions of the same features within a week.

I read it as mainly millennials because they’re the only ones using Snapchat.

Well duh, mainly millennials use Snapchat.

"One thing we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback."

Try telling that to the SnapChat evangelicals over the past few years…

it was fine originally, and man I miss those days of three screens. but they pushed too many features and it has so little identity. teens literally only use it for streaks

It has good features, but each feature seems tacked on or hard to access. The interface needs consolidation and simplification.

Yeah haha
We need to add a new feature … lets gooo… LEFT
Another one … lets go … UP
Another one … lets goooo … DOWN
Another one … lets goooo … PINCH IN

They’ve got nowhere left to go

So that’s why they’re redesigning the app. Need more room for more features. I bet they add a regular, Facebook like feed before the app stops being used.

EXACTLY. I didn’t know about the map thing because it’s so finicky and hard to access. You have to pinch on a specific screen. Features like that should be accessible from anywhere (e.g. using buttons on the bottom of the screen like "traditional" apps, such as Instagram, and even IG has hard-to-find features).

What’s a streak

I think it’s how many consecutive days you’ve snapped someone for, but I thought they removed this feature tbh

Can’t confirm. Don’t have friends.

security is still flawed, shame

It used to be tailored to the users, but now it’s tailored towards marketing, ad revenue, and overall just trying to force-feed content that, upon seeing it, makes you question how they even got a Snapchat News deal cough MTV cough Cosmopolitan cough Brother Mag… I could keep coughing for about half an hour.

And finally, Snapchat is "building a new version of our Android application from the ground up that we will launch in select markets before rolling it out widely." It seems as though this is a separate project from the big remake, but we’ll see.

Thank god.

From what I’ve heard, the existing version takes photos by displaying the camera’s output on the screen and using the screenshot API to save it.

I’m not sure, I just know the performance could be better.

Yup, and it’s been plaguing snap quality on Android for the longest time. They need to finally throw Camera2 API integration in with this redesign

too late? instagram stories are way better today…

Yup, Instagram is so much better.
The only thing Snapchat is better at are the face filters.
I always default to Instagram for posting and I have to remember to post on Snapchat.

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