Snapchat unveils app redesign

Snap Inc. on Wednesday unveiled the planned redesign for its app, which aims to address long-standing criticism that Snapchat is too hard for some users to figure out.

The app will now more clearly delineate between content created by users’ friends and content from professional creators and publishers.

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“While blurring the lines between professional content creators and your friends has been an interesting Internet experiment, it has also produced some strange side-effects (like fake news) and made us feel like we have to perform for our friends rather than just express ourselves,” Snap wrote in a post announcing the change.

The app is also ditching its layout arranging a user’s friends alphabetically. Instead, Snapchat will introduce a “dynamic Friends page,” which will use an algorithm to arrange a user’s friends by who they talk to the most.

Snapchat’s signature camera homepage, which allows users to take pictures as soon as they open the app, will remain the same.

Some at the company and many of Snapchat’s younger users appreciated the difficulty of the app, which has kept older users, particularly parents, off the platform. Wall Street, though, has taken issue with this, as it appears to have prevented the app from growing its user base, and consequently from increasing the value of its ads.

Snap’s shares have accordingly taken a hit. Despite massive gains across the stock market, Snap’s shares haven’t risen above its initial $17-a-share public offering price since July.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel had said previously that changes to the app’s design would be coming in an earnings call at the beginning of November.

“There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application,” Spiegel said on the call. “We’re willing to take that risk for what we believe are substantial longterm benefits to our business.”