In 13 pages of prepared remarks to investors for Snap Inc’s Q3 earnings call, CEO Evan Spiegel announced a major Snapchat redesign, focusing on ease of use and closer alignment with other, larger social networks.
Spiegel addressed several complaints about the app’s user-friendliness in the letter, an issue that has plagued the company from almost the outset, and one that spurred Snapchat to produce a lengthy user manual for its IPO.
“One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback,” the letter reads. “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 did not mention when or even what to expect from the redesign, though he claimed that the company is looking at taking advantage of machine learning and personalization to “make it easier to discover the vast quantity of content on our platform that goes undiscovered or unseen every day.”
In layperson’s terms, part of the Snapchat redesign may include something similar if not in name then in functionality to Facebook’s News Feed. “We are developing a new solution that provides each of our 178 million Daily Active Users with their own Stories experience,” Spiegel writes.
Just last week Snapchat announced it would be adding audience tracking features similar to those offered by Google and Facebook. The company’s stock prices fell by 20 percent after the earnings call, and Snapchat continues to struggle to win new users over Instagram. The app must walk a narrow line over a yawning precipice, proving to investors that it’s following industry best practices without losing what made it special to begin with.