snapchat's mistake


Lets not pretend that you don’t know. It’s impossible to go anywhere without hearing about Snapchat’s redesign as hundreds of thousands of users are deleting the app. A record low of 2 stars in the App Store. Nearly 650,000 people have signed the petition. A fake screenshot purporting to be from Snapchat said it would change back if it got 50,000 retweets — it now has over 1.3 million making it the sixth most retweeted tweet in the history of Twitter. Celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen and Kylie Jenner are sharing their disapproval. Companies like Jimmy Johns and Carl’s Jr began to make fun of it. Every major journalist has covered the story.

Without notice, Snapchat redesigned itself into a sloppy mess and hundreds of thousands of users are deleting the app. What I’m here to talk about though is that the redesign is receiving an incredible amount of backlash. In fact, it is the most backlash a redesign has ever gotten in the history of the design industry. Nothing comes close.

snapchat's ghost on fire

lack of transparency

Snap’s first mistake is that they were not transparent with users. They failed to reach users and inform them of the changes. Then when they did publish the update, they failed to include a splash screen with instructions. Perhaps instead of all this, the company should have made slight changes with each update.

snap’s response

I believe that their second mistake was their response. The company was being slaughtered online by both the press and private citizens. They saw the insane decrease in users. People were fuming. So Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, released a statement telling users to get over it: “updates as big as this one can take a little getting used to, but we hope the community will enjoy it once they settle in.” Furthermore, the company threatened users’ accounts for using unofficial workarounds for changing the way the app looks.

A user should not have to “[get] used to” your app. You should make it simple to use to avoid that whole concern in the first place. Snapchat made a statement because they saw the negative attention pushed upon them. That is when they should have, due to the insane amount, published an apology and made a commitment to deliver an app that users enjoy using. I believe that their actual response is a bit standoff-ish. Snap is refusing to admit they’ve made a mistake, and it is not helping the situation they’ve put themselves in.

snap can resolve this

While catering to advertisers, Snap forgot that without us, those advertisers are not willing to pay them money. We are the product of Snapchat. Snapchat’s customer is advertisers. Snap sells us to the advertiser to make money. When we leave, what does Snap have that advertisers are willing to pay money for? Absolutely nothing. Without money, how is Snapchat going to operate as a serious platform? Snap can still redeem themselves, but they have limited time. They need to address the issue seriously, and they need to apologize for both the redesign and their improper response to the situation. If they do those two things, the app has hope to live on.