Snapchat’s redesign is not the end of the world


Are you as peeved about the changes at Snapchat? Every one else is! 

Yes, the new user interface is a pain. Yes, they’ve changed too much and that has to be infuriating. And yes, everyone is crying about it. But let’s take a beat and think this through. 

Ask yourself, is this the first time a beloved interface has turned on you to disturb your homeostatic state? And is this even going to be the last?

The overreaction

Snapchat Overreation

First off, Snapchat announced this re-haul back in November when their fourth quarter results were way below expectations, even though they were positive. 

At that time Evan Spiegal, CEO of Snapchat, said, “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.”

So… users complained and the company “listened”? 

Yes. That is horrible. Let’s freak out.

Second, they knew that there was a chance that their users wouldn’t love it. “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,” stated Speigal.

According to him, this new update is just an attempt to separate the social from the media. It’s really quite simple. Friends and all personal communication is shown on the left while stories from publishers are on the new discover page to the right.

The reaction to the redesign maybe considered to be warranted because the update hasn’t really changed much in terms of functionality. It took what was already there and shuffled it up. 

Nobody is pretending to be naive. It’s fairly obvious that these changes have come into existence in order to increase the number of advertisements that can be integrated in to user feeds. 

The backstory

A few days ago, Snapchat rolled out a new update that completely redesigned the application. By complete, I mean COMPLETELY.

The minute this version went live, Twitter erupted.

Tweet after tweet of hate comments, barrage of criticism, and a long line of horrible reviews on the Play Store. After a while, you actually started feeling bad for Snapchat. The threats of boycotting the app are all a rage but really, how many of these users are actually going to follow through? 

We see the same menacing reaction every time Facebook changes or comes up with a new feature for their site, but Facebook hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s been 14 years!

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The rest of the ecosystem

Back in 2013, Instagram started sponsored posts that were targeted at its US users and then in 2014, it hit 200 million active users. Then later that year, they decided to bolster their advertising capabilities and started testing different formats of ads, with ads going global in 2015. The same month, Instagram hit 400 million active users. 

Remember when Instagram changed from being chronological to interest based? That change in their algorithm was met with intense backlash. Everyone wanted to go back to the previous interface with people telling the company not to fix something that wasn’t broken to begin with. Well, three months later, the application hit 500 million active users

As of 2017, it has 800 million monthly active users. Where did all the haters go? The answer is oh-so-simple. Nowhere.

Back in 2006, Facebook introduced the Mini-Feed and boy-oh-boy did the users, albeit understandably, react! It was a whole new way to stalk people and there was nowhere to hide. 

And then in 2007, the News Feed feature was launched, which meant you could see everything your friends had been up to since the last time you logged in. When, in 2009, Facebook made the News Feed live, people absolutely hated it. 

Finally, in 2011, the old design was scrapped and the new version of Facebook was born. The same version that we all know and (apparently) love… well, like, today.

So much for all that backlash, Facebook still reigns over the social networking space.

So everyone just needs to chill 

Snapchat isn’t even being sly about its doing. The company has been so transparent about the fact that Instagram has been giving them tough competition and their ‘programmatic ad buying’ hasn’t been the most successful.

At the end of the day, Snapchat is a business and it needs to make money. Even if the new UI is designed for the latter, why is Snapchat wrong? 

Did they take away features you were used to? Did they make it impossible to interact with friends? 

Over time, we will all get used to this UI, just like we did for Facebook, Instagram and a plethora of other things on the Internet. A new UI is always difficult to learn, and you will learn it, eventually. 

 So...chill. Social media has far graver implications than a changed UI. 

Prabhjote Gill is the Senior Journalist at Business Insider India. She covering everything space, tech and defence at Business Insider India. She is also in-charge of allocating stories to junior writers.