Earlier in November, Snap confirmed that it would be working on a new “disruptive” design for its Snapchat app, all in an effort to keep users, and hopefully convince new customers to try it out.
When it comes to the Snapchat app, some folks, including some Snap employees, have said it is too confusing to use, too complicated for no reason. And while Snapchat has technically separated friends and brands already, that wasn’t the case for its Stories feature, the ephemeral messaging that propelled Snapchat to the top of App Store ranks for quite some time. That confusion, where brand and friend content could just bleed together, was part of the issue.
But Snap wants to change that. So, a redesign is in the cards, and today The Verge has a write-up on what that redesign will look like. To start, Snapchat will make it more obvious which content is from brands and which content is from your friends and family, by keeping them separate. The new Snapchat includes a dynamic friends page, and a separate page for brand content.
The Snap camera will be in the center, and it will remain the home screen for Snapchat. On the left, there is the dynamic friends page, and on the right there is the section where brands will be present. Basically, one side is designed to share and interact, while the other is meant to consume content and search for new things to discover.
“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.”
Snap is using algorithms to make the friends list better, too. The company is including a “best friends: algorithm, which will auto populate the contacts you correspond with the most at the top of the friends page, making it easier to reach them. So the more you interact with them, and the more you watch their Stories, the higher they will climb up that friends page.
The company is also bringing back the auto-advancing Stories idea, which it actually removed from the app back in October. There is no more button in the redesigned app that will let you just watch all of the Stories available to you. Now, when you watch a Story, you’ll see a quick preview of the next Story you can watch. If you tap it, you’ll dive right in, or you can swipe away and go back to your chat list.
As for how Snapchat determines what account is a friend and what isn’t? It comes down to adding and being added back. As far as Snap is concerned, if you add a Snapchat account to your list, and they add you back, then that is considered a friend. If you add someone or a brand and they don’t add you back, then they will be added to the corporate side of the feed, away from the friends list.
When Snap made the announcement, it said that it was going to be disruptive in its redesign, but, based on what this looks like, this seems more of just a refining of what’s already there. Making the experience a bit easier to navigate. Making the distinction between friends and brands, especially when it comes to the 24-hour Stories, should be a welcomed change, though.
The redesigned Snapchat is being tested right now with a small number of folks, but it should be rolling out in a wide release in the coming weeks.[via The Verge]