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April 22, 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. And as we know, the average user spends anywhere between 25 to 30 minutes in the app every day–what is so incredible about this app?

You might think that the social network aspect is an important factor, and it certainly plays a major role, but Snapchat’s engaging and user-friendly UI is a game changer and has contributed to this number of active users. 

The Secrets of Snapchat’s User Interface 

To fully understand the magic of Snapchat and what it offers, let’s dive into its user interface and figure out why it was such a smashing success. 

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 swipe left and you’ll 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. 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. 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 and it’s a design certainly worth a look. You can even consider this simplicity for when you decide to make your own website.

The interface is intuitive for the target demographic

Snap Inc.’s target audience are teenagers or, more specifically, anyone up to the age of 25. There are a lot of reviews by “older” users complaining about the complexity of the UI. But 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 we mentioned above, 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 and send are the two buttons you will see quite often when you take a picture with Snapchat. Sending it to a friend on Snapchat is very easy and sharing it via social media and other means remains equally easy, if not even more simple.

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. 

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 the app for a longer period of time. It seems that the gamification and intuitive UI synergy works quite well for Snap Inc.

As you can see, the specific user interface that Snap Inc chose has been incredibly effective, thanks to these five main secrets that we’ve uncovered here. And there’s no rocket science here; you can take these ideas to your next project, creating an interface that will have users coming back for more. 

If you’re ready to take the next step and explore your future in UX/UI design, our UX/UI Design Bootcamp will teach you what you need to know in just a few months, preparing you to become the next big UI designer. 

Ready? We’ll see you in class.

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