So this article is basically a description of my experience of snapchat and something that really bugged me and several friends of mine, and possibly a lot of other users.

It’s not Snapchat’s

I wouldn’t say its bad UX (User Experience) or even a UX problem from Snapchat’s end, but surely this is ruining my experience of using the app.

I'll give you a brief of how I got into using Snapchat and about the status right now!

So, I’ve been on and off of Snapchat several times over these 2 years (I really never got into consistently using it). I’ve known many, who religiously use it, day in and day out.

The initial phase.

I had joined Snapchat initially because one of my friends introduced me to it and he was like,

“It’s really awesome, you can send snaps and videos and chat with people, and all of this disappears in a while and it’s really cool & everything.“

It sounded like something different, I was curious, so I tried it out.
But, it didn’t really work out for me, I dropped it in a few days. The UI (User Interface) initially confused me a lot, the way you navigate around, the swiping gesture (it surely makes things more fluid but…), the way the elements were placed on the screen, I mean, I was kind of lost in the navigation, and the whole experience was just confusing.

And things get even more painful.

I’m used to chatting with multiple users at once, and the disappearing texts were anything but annoying.

Several times I lost track of what we were chatting about and all I could see was the last message and imagine my situation when it’s a weird emoji without any context around it.


And since then I’ve probably re-installed it a few more times to check out new feature releases, I was never really consistently using it.

Phase 2

Now recently, a few weeks ago this friend comes up to me again (Yup, He’s the same friend) saying,

“This new feature called streak, it’s just perfect, we need to build a streak, you’ve got to try it out“

And I was like all right, I probably judged it a little too early, maybe I should give Snapchat another try. So, I did.

Now, for the best part,

Or not…

So my recent experience of Snapchat, (yes, it was better this time, a lot better)
As I told you, initially I didn’t like the UI so much, but I anyways continued using it because I really wanted to know what makes 191 million users use Snapchat.
And that’s just the number of active users every day.

Well, now after using Snapchat for a while, I feel more comfortable using the UI than before, probably I just got used to it, I sort of like it now, And in general, I am pretty impressed by all the features and functionality that Snapchat is offering.

From bitmojis and stickers to 3D face scanning and the weird filters that come along, not to forget the Snap-Map, which is a great feature, but then, not a good idea really (with all the privacy thing going around).

I’ve personally loved the bitmoji feature and the way they have implemented it into stickers, the way it allows users to interact with each other, I’ve found it to be one of the most effective ways to express yourself. It includes nearly all of the basic expressions that one would want to use when chatting.

I’ve lately been into using a lot of GIF’s when chatting, its fun.

Finally coming to the streak feature,

Good job Snapchat.

For those who do not know what a streak is, Basically,
You and a friend, both, exchange one snap each, once a day and after 3 days of back and forth snap-chatting you’ll see a small flame icon with the number 3 to represent 3 days of snap-chatting and this number continues to grow as long as you continue with it everyday.

This feature has successfully managed to dramatically increase user engagement and user retention on their app.

As with other features, I like this one too. (At least initially, perspectives change real quick)

There were tons of contacts in my phone book, just lying around, I had lost contact with a lot of old friends. Last I remember I was in touch with them 2-3 years ago.
After installing the app (yup, this is the last time) I saw this huge list of contacts to add and I thought I might as well text them and see if there’s any response (And yes, the response was amazing).

It was great chatting with everyone and seeing what they’ve been doing in their day to day life, being a part of it, sharing my stories.

It was a beautiful experience.

But then there was this another part to it, and this is what i really, really wanna talk to you about.

I received these black blank snaps, which were just black and ya, blank, and it had streak written on them.
Then there were snaps of the floor, the ceiling, the ceiling fan,

probably now i can just tell by the ceiling fan, who's it is.

There’s a variety of these black blank streak snaps. (ya, I’m gonna keep referring to it in the same way :P), with multicolored colored screens and all kinds of weird filters, with just random stickers, and occassionally a beautiful blue skies (which i really don’t mind).

These black blank streak snaps, I don’t really get it. Really.

You know, we’re not chatting, not socializing, its not even fun, just sending these blank black snaps for the sake of getting a badge of streak?

And as I said before, for those who genuinely share snaps and chat with each other and share their day, the fun, the excitement, its great. But for the ones who are just sending these random boring blank black snaps? I wake up, see nearly 10 of these blank snaps, and by the end of the day, this number at times goes up to 25- 30?

I don’t get it? Why?

See, I've not been able to maintain streaks with people for a long time and I guess this is the reason why.

No offence to anyone who does this, but I just want to know your views on this.
Having a streak of, I dont know, a hundred days, probably two hundred days, with more than half of them being blank snaps. Is really worth it?

I believe it’s a great feature when used in the right way, and I’m sure there’s something we can do about the current situation, together.

Its a win-win for Snapchat either ways, it’s on us to decide how we want to use it.

Let me know what you think about it, share it with your friends, let’s get to know everyone’s views on this.

Put your thoughts down in the comments below. Let’s talk about it.

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It's not snapchat's fault… was originally published in Prototypr on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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