Snapchat's biggest redesign ever is coming -- here's how it will work

  • Snapchat’s biggest redesign ever is planned to debut on December 4, Business Insider has learned.
  • The new design will still open to the camera, but includes significant layout changes that could affect Snapchat’s publishing partners.
  • The redesigned app is meant to make Snapchat easier to use for most people.

The biggest redesign in Snapchat’s history is planned to debut on Monday, December 4, Business Insider has learned.

In an effort to kick-start stagnant user growth, CEO Evan Spiegel said Tuesday that the app would be redesigned to make it “easier to use” but didn’t specify when the redesign would be released. Snap employees were internally notified of the planned December 4 release date this week, according to a source familiar with the matter.

While Spiegel hinted that Snapchat could adopt some sort of Facebook-like feed system for showing content on Snap’s earnings call with investors Tuesday, the planned redesign will still open to the camera, the source said.

But instead of separating message threads between friends to the left of the camera from their shared “Stories” to the right of the camera, the redesign will show all friend-based communication, including Stories, to the left of the camera. To the left of the camera will be all communication between friends, including message threads and the shared Stories that are currently shown to the right from the camera.

To the right of the camera will be all crowdsourced videos from users around events like sports games, which Snapchat calls “Our Stories,” along with content produced by Snapchat’s publishing partners like NBC and BuzzFeed. The window to the right of the camera will also show Stories from verified celebrities on Snapchat, a move seemingly aimed at further separating interactions between friends and public figures.

Snap will use algorithms to personalise the “endless” feed of videos to the right of the camera, the source said. It’s unclear how the changes will affect Snap’s more than 70 media partners who produce exclusive videos for the app’s current Discover section. The new interface was described to Snap employees as the “democratization of content,” the source said.

A Snap spokesperson declined to comment for this story. The planned release date for the redesign and details about how the new app works could change.

A “great personalised content service”

Screen Shot 2017 11 08 at 5.51.12 PMSECSnap included a guide on how to use Snapchat in its initial public offering paperwork with the SEC.

After the company missed Wall Street’s expectations for its third-quarter earnings Tuesday, Spiegel told investors that the Snapchat app would be redesigned to make it more accessible and that “there is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term.”

He later elaborated on a call with investors that Snap planned to create a “great personalised content service” that addressed some of the “shortcomings” of feed-based social networks like Facebook or Twitter. He said Snapchat would offer ways for individuals like internet celebrities to monetise their videos. Spiegel has historically been critical of Facebook and has deliberately pitched Snapchat as a tool for primarily communicating with close friends.

Get the latest Snap stock price here.

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