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22 April 2024 - 4 minutes

The Secrets Behind Snapchat’s UI

Discover how Snapchat made an incredible user interface that captured user attention

Juliette Carreiro - Tech Writer

With more than 500 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone, and over 160 million active users each day, Snapchat caught the attention of mobile app and UI designers. What is it that this app has that compels an average user to spend anywhere between 25 to 30 minutes in the app every day? Yeah, the social network aspect is an important factor, but Snapchat’s engaging and user-friendly UI is a game changer and has contributed to this number of active users, too.

Here are the secrets behind Snapchat’s UI.

It Engages the User Immediately

What happens when you install the app for the first time and open it? It swallows you immediately. After you launch it, it will open up and display your front camera. If you touch the screen, the special effects menu will open in the lower portion of your screen. Trying them all is the feature that swallows you whole the moment you try to experiment with it.

Swipe left and you will be able to search for stories, find a friend, or share your username via other apps installed on your smartphone. Another left swipe and you will arrive on the Discover screen, where you can read news, interesting articles, and watch snaps of famous users. If you swipe right, you will launch the chat feature of the app. This screen also contains “Find Friends” and “Share your username” buttons.

Swiping up will open up the Memory screen where you can take a look at all the snaps you took while using the app. If you pinch your starting screen, you will access the See the World feature and see Snaps of events and breaking news. Quite amazing, one must admit.

Minimalism is Key

Respecting the current trends in material design, Snap Inc. has made sure that their app looks simple yet awesome. All the features like chat, snap, special effect, memory, stories, search, rotate camera are accessible from the start screen. The button design is unique, yet it reflects the standard icons that people are already used to.

Simply put, you won’t find yourself going through the app, wondering how to do this or how to do that. Everything is at the reach of your fingertips. A design certainly worth taking a look at. You can even consider this simplicity for when you decide to make your own website.

The screen surface is used to its maximum and you won’t get the feeling that there are too many elements present in any of the screens.


The Interface is Intuitive for the Target Demographic

Snap Inc.’s target audience are teenagers. Well, anyone up to the age of 25. There are a lot of reviews by “older” users complaining about the complexity of the UI. This is not a coincidence; it is Snap Inc.’s intentional design.

Young generations are used to smartphone apps and, if anything, Snapchat’s interface is as intuitive as one can be. As I mentioned in the first section, swiping and screen pressing are supported. And, every app’s function can be accessed by performing 2 actions at most.

The platform integrates easily with other social media websites

Share, Edit & Send are the two buttons you will see quite often when you take a picture with Snapchat. Sending it to a friend on Snap chat is very easy and sharing it via social media and other means remains equally easy, if not even easier.

I have plenty of social media apps on my phone currently installed. In the picture above, you can see what happens when I click the share button in Snapchat. You can share your snaps literally everywhere.

There is a Gamification Component to It

Snapchat is an app where you can collect trophies and increase your score over time. When you access your profile on Snapchat, you can see the score under your name. It is basically showing how active you are inside the app (sent and received snaps) and how much time you spent in it. A certain status symbol in the Snapchat world, if I may say so myself.

There is also a built-in trophy rewarding system. After reaching a specific milestone, you will get a trophy – a small badge that you can display on your profile. Everything is designed to engage users to interact with the interface more and stay in app for a longer period of time. It seems that the gamification and intuitive UI synergy works quite well for Snap Inc.

These were the five secrets behind Snapchat’s engaging and user-friendly UI that we have discovered. Snap Inc. is working on improvements ‘round the clock and we should not be surprised if they bring some more changes and improvements in the near future. Looking forward to it!


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