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Snapchat Is Testing a Major Redesign to Simplify In-App Navigation



Snapchat is testing out a major new redesign which would expand the app from three to five definitively separated sections, and add a black navigation bar along the bottom of the screen. 

Snapchat redesign test

As reported by Casey Newton in The Interface, and as you can see in the above images, the new navigation bar would link to five sections.

  • The first would be the Snap Map, which is currently accessible by swiping down on the main camera screen, though is not clearly noted as such anywhere in the app
  • The second is the chat section, where you can conduct message conversations with friends (second screenshot above)
  • The third is the main camera, which the app opens to
  • The fourth is essentially the current Snap Discover section, but renamed ‘Community’, which would feature all the content from connections, people you follow, personal recommendations, etc. (first screenshot above)
  • The fifth would be the new ‘Discover’, which would showcase Snap’s original programming, which has seen a significant boost in viewership over the past year

Currently, the 1st and 2nd tabs, and the 4th and 5th are compressed into a single tab each, but the new format would give each more dedicated space – and most notably, would make it much easier for newcomers to navigate their way around the various tools and features.

Of course, that’s never really been Snapchat’s concern. Snapchat’s less than user-friendly design is actually a feature – with the app’s various tools being a little more hidden, it’s meant that Snapchatters have had to share how to find them among themselves, giving the app an extra level of exclusivity. It’s also, some have suggested, been built this way to keep older users out – if people logging on can’t understand it, they move on, which, in many ways, is how Snapchatters would prefer it. 

But now, Snapchat needs more users. Snapchat did add 8 million more daily actives in Q4 ’19, taking it to 218 million DAU to end the year, but in order for the app to maximize its revenue potential, and justify its increasing data storage costs, it needs to keep growing, as much and as fast as possible.

Improving the way in which people are able to use the app could be one way of doing this, and while Snapchat’s last major redesign was not well received, and reportedly lead to many users abandoning the app, it’ll be hoping it can get it right this time around, maintaining connection with its current audience, while also opening the app up to broader interest.

Definitely, it seems to make sense. The map, for example, is a popular feature, but again, it’s not obvious how you can access it straight away, and giving it a dedicated space might also enable Snap to better utilize it for advertising or other purpose, simply by assigning it more focus. Showcasing its Snap Originals also makes a lot of sense – Snapchat says that more than 100 of its Discover channels are now reaching, on average, audiences in the double-digit millions per month. Separating them out from the other content could help Snap boost that viewership, while again, also adding another potential space for advertising simply by delineating clearer functional divides.

Another reported option in testing is a ‘Happening Now’ dedicated news section in the app, through which Snap’s team would provide a listing of curated news headlines from trusted providers. 

As explained by Newton:

The news briefs I saw featured timely headlines from publishers include NowThis, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. The section curates top headlines about developments in the United States and the world. Each one-sentence headline can be tapped to bring up a full-screen news brief containing a photo and a short article. (The one I saw, about the New Hampshire primary, was about 75 words.)”


Given its reach among younger users, a dedicated focus on news content could actually be a valuable and important addition, albeit a smaller change within the broader scope of a full update.

Snapchat has confirmed that these elements are all in testing, but says that it has no plans for an expanded rollout at this stage. 

We’ll keep you updated as any news comes through on the test.



WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats



WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats

WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new Call Links feature, which, as it sounds, will enable you to share a link to invite others to join a group chat in the app.

As you can see in these examples, you’ll now be able to create dedicated URL links for WhatsApp group video and audio chats, which will make it easier for others to join the discussion in the app.

When available (the option is being rolled out this week), you’ll be able to see the Call Link option within your ‘Calls’ tab, enabling you to create a shareable link to get people into your chats.

It could be an easy way to help enhance community connection, and facilitate engagement, while brands could also use the option to better connect with influencers and advocates, in a more direct, intimate way.

For example, you could run an exclusive chat to discuss your upcoming product launch, or seek feedback on potential updates. Meta’s says that it’s also working on secure, encrypted video calling for up to 32 people as well, so there could soon be a range of ways to use the option as a means to spotlight specific audience segments and engage with them direct.

And with more engagement switching to messaging tools, that’s definitely worth considering.

Indeed, as part of a recent product announcement, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that:


Most people use feeds to discover content and use messaging for deeper connections.”

As such, it may be time to start considering how you can lean into this shift, and better align with how users are now connecting, in order to maximize community and engagement.

Feeds are increasingly being overtaken by entertainment, so if you want to tap into the connective benefits of the medium, that may no longer be the place to be to reach your fans.

Messaging, and messaging groups, could be an important consideration going forward, and these new tools provide more options on this front.

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