Snapchat did what?

The new Snapchat layout, right, combines stories and direct messages in a single list.

photo courtesy of Nina Doody

The new Snapchat layout, right, combines stories and direct messages in a single list.

Maeve Hunt

Recently Snapchat released a new update, which not only changed the layout of the app, but also sparked negative reactions from many users, including a petition to revert back to the original design.

The changes started with stories from users’ friends no longer being located in a designated “stories” section; instead they are all a part of the friends section which is accessible only by swiping left from the camera. The new “friends” section now contains all snaps from friends, messages and group chats, plus all of the stories as well. Another feature is all group chats automatically get their own Group Stories too.

One of the most frustrating aspects according to many users, however, is that stories are no longer ordered chronologically. Instead, the friends page ranks your friends’ stories based on who you have communicated with most recently. Therefore in order to find someone’s stories you have to either scroll through all your contacts or search their name in the top bar of the friends page.

Users also experience a  new look to the page when they try to send something. In addition, the bitmojis are displayed next to each person’s name on the friends page.

The camera page is relatively the same; however when you swipe to the right of the camera, it takes you directly to the discover, rather than the story page. As before, the discover page is covered with stories for advertising purposes, features and news stories.

Justin Brush, a recent graduate from the University of Puget Sound and new software developer at Snapchat Headquarters in California, was on the team of people to first learn about the redesign. “At the the time it was all confidential. They moved us to a big room with rows of desks and computers and had us build the redesign for about 33 days,” he said.

Users will also need to navigate through more content that is pushed to them. According to an article by Independent News, Evan Spiegel, the co-founder and CEO of Snapchat, said, “We are going to make it easier to discover the vast quantity of content on our platform that goes undiscovered or unseen every day.”

Many speculations have arisen about the update being a way promote advertising in order to accumulate the money they need to keep the app up and running.

Annie Wright freshman Hannah Altayar, who is dedicated to the app and has a snap score of over 720,000 snaps, meaning the number of many snaps she has sent and received, dislikes the update. “I think it’s really bad that snapchat is ignoring the majority of the people who have said they don’t like it,” she said.  “I think it doesn’t work well and I don’t like it.”

When asked about what she thought their motives were behind the update she replied, “I think they were doing it to make people talk more about the app and cause some outrage.”

Many App Store reviewers echoed Altayar’s sentiments. “I give it zero stars if I could because the update is terrible,” said one reviewer, Lauryn1224. “The navigation is very hard now and it doesn’t allow easy access between stories and chat. I have always been on board for the updates, but this is absolute trash.”

Despite its drop in popularity to 1.8 out of 5 stars, Snapchat is still ubiquitous, especially among younger users. It is also used as a news source. Recently, for example, a Snapchat story was picked up by The New York Times for a short news video about Wednesday’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.