I just installed Snapchat again a few days ago. I have to say the interface SUCKS! I understand why I never stuck with it the first time. It is the most awful user interface I have ever used. It is not intuitive at all. It had me swiping and tapping getting more frustrated each time. I’m not a newbie to technology, smartphones, social media or apps. I have used pretty much every major social media app and some that never took off. I am no stranger to what they do and the interface that allows a user to get things done. I use and have used Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Vine, Periscope, BBM Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Path, app.net, and Piictu just to name a few. There’s one thing they have all had in common. I was able to install it, add friends and put out posts, tweets, updates in minutes. Snapchat, not even close!
Now it’s not like Snapchat is an obscure, relatively unknown app. Which means that they must have the funds and the know how to make a better interface. Since the interface is the way apps connect with users I don’t understand why it would ever be last on any developers’ list. The sign up part was easy which is good. Though in my opinion the page could look a little more polished. I get that they cater to a younger audience who just want to sign up and get snapping. So I wont bother harping on that for long but I’ll just leave one thought. Steve Jobs famously said that his father taught him that the parts of something that aren’t seen are just as important and should be be just as nice as what is being seen. Moving on, now that a user has signed up they can see friends who have added them and also add their own friends. Except it’s not a simple process at all. I tried to add my wife. I allowed access to my contacts begrudgingly but she joined without using her number. So that got me nowhere. I was swiping and searching with no luck. I finally asked her what her username was and found the right place to search. But it shouldn’t have taken me that long and so much effort. I get that they want to keep the interface simple. However simple doesn’t have to mean confusing and un-polished. An interface can be simple while still easy to understand and aesthetically pleasing. I mean maybe it’s just my personal taste but the Snapchat user interface (UI) looks childish. It takes time to get used to the UI and figure out how things work. In an app especially a social app, when there are so many other social apps out there, that’s not what a developer should be satisfied to have.
When Snapchat started they capitalized on the novelty of the messages being only temporary. They would self-destruct after a certain time set by the sender. Then people figured out how to take screenshots and that whole novelty was in jeopardy. In the beginning when Snapchat wanted to gain momentum sure that idea was good. It made people more comfortable sending risque pictures because of the idea that they weren’t permanent. It was THE app for sexting. Now however I think that idea is pretty much irrelevant. Snapchat has now established itself and made it into the current scene. I’m not saying to get rid of the whole idea of the messages self-destructing. I’m just saying concentrate on the app itself and the features that are being offered to users. If someone really wants the picture there is no app right now that can promise with certainty to prevent it. The receiver can use another device to take a picture or video of the picture. It’s simple and wont have the quality and full resolution of the actual image but they still have it. So how about concentrating on that god awful interface and make it a little more user friendly, intuitive and pleasing.