Snapchat seeks to fix redesign that sparked backlash
Snapchat might be changing its mind on the
redesign that recently caused a huge wave of criticism
social media app’s overhaul
separated branded content from snaps that users’ friends shared. It also
placed content from celebrities and influencers in the same place as
Though Snapchat’s redesign was meant to court brand managers and open the
platform to more advertising opportunities, it brought swift backlash from
users who complained the app was confusing and hard to navigate.
On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Snapchat is testing a new interface where
user-generated stories and branded content are in the same place—similar to
the way the app functioned before its redesign.
But the latest update isn’t a full reversion to the Snapchat of old; there
is one key difference. While the celebrity and user content will all exist
on the Discover page, they will be separated into two sections. That means
that unlike Instagram stories, users won’t see one of their friend’s
stories immediately followed by one from a celebrity. But it also means a
user’s feed won’t be dominated by the celebrity content, ensuring that they
can still see the stories their friends have shared.
For now, only a small number of users will see this change.
has not announced when or whether all users will receive the update.
Journalists have ventured a few theories as to why Snapchat is making this
move, including making scorned users happy and increasing views on stories
shared through the app.
It’s a small change, and a Snap spokesperson says it’s just a test, but
it’s also a big deal, mostly because
Snap was very adamant about keeping friend content and professional
when it unveiled the redesign late last year.
So why is Snap doing this? It’s not entirely clear, though a company
spokesperson who confirmed the change added that, “We are always listening
to our community and will continue to test updates that we hope will give
Snapchatters the best possible experience on our platform.”
There’s no question that the Snapchat redesign prompted harsh
criticism—when your stock price drops because Kylie Jenner said she’d
stopped using your app, you sit up and take notice. Snap may be trying to
appease critics by reverting to the old ways. It’s not certain that Stories
use has dropped as a result of the split, but it wouldn’t be surprising.
And as Recode observed, there’s a chance that Snap would use its
unified Stories as a way to pitch
. If you have to glance at the latest big-name shows in order to catch your
friend’s concert snap, you might be more inclined to watch those shows.
The one certainty: this would represent a fundamental shift in philosophy.
The Snap spokesperson noted that the test interface revolves around “users’
behavior, not just relationships.” It’s about what you’re trying to do, not
who you’re doing it with — a simple strategy for a company that has lately
been accused of making things unnecessarily complex.
“… Clearly [Snapchat’s] redesign wasn’t perfect, and now it’s trying to
find the right layout and balance of user content and professional
content,” Recode’s Kurt Wagner wrote.
Snapchat is also testing additional features to entice users to use its
, the company announced “Snappables,”
which are augmented reality lenses that enable users to control the lenses
via facial expressions, motion and touch. Users can play games and
challenge friends to compete.
Though Snapchat’s attempt to appease users and offer more features might
increase users’ time on Snapchat, the move didn’t boost investors’
Shares of the social media company plunged Wednesday after it changed its
app again—only months after a
that ticked off users.
) stock was down 7% in midday trading, putting it more than 15% below the
price when it went public last year.