STORY BY JACOB MCKAY
The folks at Snapchat have apparently never heard of the classic saying “Less is more.” The popular app has undergone a number of changes over the last year. First, it introduced sponsored Snapchat Stories —platforms for companies to stream content directly into the app.
It also introduced local stories and international event stories for holidays or special festivals around the world. These changes were nowhere near enough for the heads of Snapchat, a company that was valued at $19 billion by Fortune Magazine at the beginning of the year.
Coinciding with Apple’s release of its iOS 9 operating systems, Snapchat released support for a new filter format.
If a user presses on the screen before taking a picture, Snapchat scans the user’s face and uses it for a number of filter animations such as wrinkles and a monocle, bug eyes, a secret agent effect and something that makes a rainbow come out of users’ mouths.
Right after introducing the new filters, Snapchat introduced an entirely new range that uses the same face scanning technology. These filters were no doubt added to improve user experience, and they accomplish that by creating new ways to share images. The filters are creative and even funny, but when they change continuously, the lack of continuity becomes a problem for users who grew attached to certain filters. Snapchat does not appear to have a problem changing user experience, but they may be trying to do too much too soon in terms of updating the app.
The filters are a positive update, but they do not need to be changed every few weeks. Snapchat should also stop trying to squeeze content into the app to find new revenue streams.
The amount of content on the story screen is about the maximum amount that should ever be on one screen. Snapchat would be better served following the Twitter formula of simplicity, making basic aesthetic changes and keeping the user experience basically the same from update to update.
Let people enjoy the new filters. They should be allowed to stay before the next update introduces another complete revamp of an already successful platform.