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Rethinking Snapchat's Discover Page

Fall 2018
Role: Visual Designer
Collaborators:
Anna Hazarian, Ben Hazarian, Jan Eric De Castro, Will Wong
Final Result: http://bit.ly/187Snapchat

Overview

My group and I redesigned Snapchat’s display of “stories” on the Discover page. I will be elaborating on my design, one out of the two, that was created using our group’s user research data.

Here is the side by side comparison of the current Snapchat Discover on the left and the redesigned Discover page on the right.*
*(color discrepancies due to inconsistent coloring on the Apple vs Android apps, no explanation found on Snapchat branding guidelines)

Without further ado, this is my group’s journey through our Snapchat Discover redesign and my further individual reanalysis of the redesign!

Introduction

Snapchat has long since been a controversial social media app among users around the age of 18 to 24 years old. It allows users to send brief pictures or videos and messages to friends. Snapchat also has a feature called “stories”.

Recently, we have noticed that Snapchat has pushed multiple cycles of redesigns and none of them have seem to stuck with its target users. Especially visible in Snapchat’s reviews section in the App store, with a rating of 2.3 of of 5 stars, users have universally been disappointed with Snapchat’s user interface.

A reviewer by the name of emilyraugusta has said that basic features such as adding or removing people from her best friend’s list should be a priority and she doesn’t like how people she isn’t close to appears on her list.

Roger the generous scout said that the Discover page was too cluttered and viewing his friends’ stories was irritating due to its proximity to the sponsored advertisements.

Even Kylie Jenner expressed her displeasure, referencing the 2018 Snapchat redesign, with over 350,000 likes and over 72,000 retweets.

*embed*

We saw an opportunity here to continue further research on Snapchat and it’s users and this is what we found.

User Research Round 1 + 1b

Before beginning to even ideate about which component to redesign, we conducted two (more of our first and then supplemental 😄) rounds of user research.

Our first round of user research served a more general purpose. The data we collected gave us a good overview of how people used Snapchat as a whole and helped us narrow our research scope. It was clear to us that viewing Stories on the Discover page was the most common and persistent issue for the users.

The “1b” round of user research served as our supplemental data which pinpointed the scope of our problem. We wanted to see how users post and view the different types of Stories on Snapchat, since people seemed to have problems with navigating through the different features and settings of Stories in addition to problems with information overload on the Discover page (where Stories are currently located).  

The six different kinds of stories that a Snapchat user can post to are: My Story, Our Story, Private Story, Custom “Group” Story, Geo Story, and Group Chat Story.

Of the five users we tested and interviewed, all were familiar with My Story, two users were familiar with Geo Story, only one user identified Private Story and Custom Story, another user could identify an additional Group Story and no one was familiar with Our Story.

We wanted to redesign Snapchat’s Stories in a way that would make it explicitly clear for users to intuitively view all the Stories that Snapchat had to offer.

What to Redesign

Snapchat’s Discover page is far too cluttered, with the focal point of the page being the advertised and sponsored content, rather than the user Stories. Finding specific stories such as Custom, Private or Geo Stories on the Discover proved to be extremely difficult. Placement of the Custom and Geo Stories are randomized by Snapchat to be in the “For You” section, often buried under an assortment of news and advertisements, as shown in the screenshot below.

We posted a test Geo Story named “Testing 123” to see if we could complete the task to be give to users and only found the Geo Story halfway down the “For You” section next to Daily Mail and Art Insider.

Sketches

Having established the focus of our redesign to be the Snapchat Discover page, I created some sketches.

First, addressing the issue concerning the lack of control given to the users, particularly the option to add and remove best or top friends from a user’s list.

The following sketch shows a layout that makes it easier to share Stories by dedicating different sections to specific types of Stories so that it may be easier for users to share their content.

Interactive Prototype #1

From our research, we found that most users did not know of the six different types of Stories to post and view (My Story, Our Story, Private Story, Custom “Group” Story, Geo Story, and Group Chat Story). The places that these six stories are located are scattered across Snapchat. The Discover page is home to My Stories while Group Stories and Geo Stories hidden among the News, and with the News located on the Discover page already, we decided to consolidate all the different types of stories onto the Discover Page.

*embed*

At the top of the Discover Page, we have the Friends section. All your friends’ My Stories and Private Stories will be located here. We’ve made it obvious for users to differentiate Private Stories from My Stories by adding a lock icon on the bottom center of users who have posted a Private Story. We added an option to pin your top friends as well by adding the three menu dots on the top right of the Friends section. An overlay will pop up for you to choose which users you’d like to pin, and then once you click Finish, you will see your pinned friends displayed with a blue pin icon on the top right of their picture. Both the lock icon and pin icon are to keep users informed of the status of their actions.

The second section is dedicated to Group Stories or Custom Stories. Whereas before, the Group Stories were visible only from the chat or hidden among Friend Stories on the Discover Page, in our design they are all listed under their own section: the Group section.

The third section consists of Stories Around You which includes Snapchat’s Geo Story and Our Story. Currently on Snapchat, the Geo Stories were hidden among the news on the Discover Page and Our Story was located on the Snap Map. Rather than having to search the entire app to find the stories, we’ve brought both types of stories to the Discover Page. To differentiate between the two on our redesign, we’ve given them a designated section and added a map pin icon to the bottom center of Geo Stories and a world icon to the Our Stories.

As for the fourth section of the redesign, this is where Snapchat’s news articles are. There are no stories hidden within this section, as we have dedicated this section to the news articles and the celebrities that Snapchat itself decides to feature only. In our research many mentioned that the “For You” section was too overpowering so by giving the other stories their dedicated space on one page, the “For You” was automatically shifted toward the bottom of the screen. The news articles are still visible if you scroll down the page.

User Research Round 2

What this redesign accomplished was that all the users could find Geo Story, Private Story and the sports/news sections very quickly. Overall most the users liked that all the people/groups they followed were consolidated on one page and organized into sections.

When testing the redesign, two of the users thought that the lock icon or greyed out circle around the user “donnormy,” or a combination of both the lock icon and greyed out circle, meant that the story was not clickable at all. Regardless of this, all users still identified the lock icon to correctly mean a Private Story, the confusion was about whether or not the circle was clickable.

Left: Viewed story, Middle & Right: Un-viewed story

We designed the grey circle to show what a story would look like if it had already been viewed, but in retrospect we should have kept it just like an unseen story, a purple circle. In the future, this is something that we would fix and test again with a purple circle instead as we believe that the combination of the grey circle and lock is what caused the confusion.

Another issue with the redesign was finding Our Story. All four users were not clear that Snapchat had an Our Story in the first place, so asking them to find a feature unknown to our users was difficult. In the redesign, because Our Story is still location based (although it is curated, Snapchat still organizes them by location), we titled it San Diego and gave it a world icon, but users did not know to click it because they had no mental model of what Our Story is.

Many of the users did not notice the existence of subtle design aspects, such as the pins and the menu dots. We had predicted that the redesign, due to it being visually similar to the current Snapchat, the additional pin element would grab user attention. However it might have been too similar, or too small of a button for our testing users to notice. If the 3 menu dots/pinning was actually implemented, a popup of an introduction of the feature right when a user opened the app after an update might be enough to alert users of the new pinning feature.

Interactive Prototype #2

Due to the time constraints of our class and our instructions, our group project ended here. However I took the results from the redesign user tests into consideration and decided to iterate more on the redesign.

**COMING SOON :)**

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