To make Snapchat more usable for olds, Snap is planning a “disruptive” redesign that could piss off the young.
The social app’s parent company announced in an earnings report today that it’s “currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use,” because “one thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use.”
And that was the point. Snapchat took off, in part, because it was like a secret you could learn; the weird design functioned as a “keep out” sign for older users, and it fed into the app’s image as networks like Facebook grew older and decidedly less cool. But any major change could push away some of Snap’s 178 million daily users—users Snap can’t afford to lose if it’s only going to grow by a few million users every three months.
“There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term,” Snap warned today. “And we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application. We’re willing to take that risk for what we believe are substantial longterm benefits to our business.”
Willing or not, this is a risk Snap probably has to take. The company has failed to substantially grow its advertising revenue this year, and hardware won’t save it, either: “Excess” Spectacles are responsible for nearly $40 million of Snap’s costs last quarter. Upset teens or not, Snapchat has got to change.