Evan Spiegel doubles down on new Snapchat redesign, says complaints only 'validate' changes

Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

  • Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel doubled-down on the app’s major redesign, which sent users into a tizzy when it came out last week.
  • Speaking to investors at a Goldman Sach’s conference, Spiegel said that user complaints only “validate” the changes, which make bigger distinctions between content created by friends and content created by media brands and celebrities.
  • Spiegel said that the time it takes for users to relearn an app after a redesign is a challenge for the company, but that Snapchat is “still very early in even the core app evolution.”

SAN FRANCISCO — SnapCEO Evan Spiegel is not fazed by the uproar over his new redesign.

Speaking to investors at the Goldman Sachs’ Technology and Internet conference on Thursday, Spiegel said that he personally prefers the new version and thinks that users will like it too once they have had time to learn to use the new features.

“I feel way more attached to the service than I ever have,” Spiegel said.

Snapchat users publicly protested last week after the company began to roll out its biggest redesign to date. The app is now divided between content created by friends, and content created by media companies, celebrities, and brands.

Spiegel described this as a split between “communications” with people you know, and “broadcast” with people you don’t. He told the audience that he thinks distinguishing between the two different types of content brings “more clarity to the service.”

Spiegel went on to describe complaints from users who felt they had lost the feeling of intimacy that they experienced when watching Snapchat stories from celebrities like Kim Kardarsian. Ultimately, he said, this is a good thing.

“We’d been thinking about the redesign for a really long time because we were frustrated that when you looked at the [app], both sides looked the same,” Spiegel said. “We’re excited about what we’re seeing so far. Even the complaints we’re seeing reinforce the philosophy. The frustrations we’re seeing really validate those changes.”

The 27 year old CEO was very vague about the benefits of the redesign, and did not provide any concrete details that would show whether users’ behaviour or engagement with the service has changed as a result of the redesign.

For Spiegel, this is just the beginning. He said Snap is “still very early in even the core app evolution,” which means there may be more major changes to come. The biggest hurdle, he said, is getting Snapchat users on board.

“The hardest part that you can’t get around is the time it takes to learn,” he said.

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