Snapchat is a unique and creative addition to social media, which initially revolved around the idea of sending brief, captioned photos that were not saveable and set to expire with a given time frame. This was a lovely antidote to the permanence of other social media services, and a definite benefit for younger users, who were not interested in creating a huge online footprint.
Made exclusively for mobile phones and tablet devices, this app has morphed into a more comprehensive form of communication that features filters, video editing and interactive edits. It has, however, managed to remain a unique and unrivaled app that makes messaging fun again. Below, we examine the components that make this app so popular worldwide.
Snapchat has expanded as a platform significantly since it was first released, and its functionality has increased throughout the years. Users can now take photos, caption them, add location relevant filters and create ‘stories' that are viewable multiple times by friends and followers. Snapchat has added considered and fun functions, that appeal to the younger demographic that it targets. By tapping on faces, users can use filters that change their appearance and participate in the ‘face swap' function that has entertained millions of users worldwide. The Snapchat app is free to download for Android and iOS and the login function is easy to operate. The app also has a chat function that allows friends and users to communicate with each other. Using the function, you can also send videos and images, that are subject to be deleted later. There is really no obvious lack of functionality in Snapchat. For what it is, it's considerate and doesn't neglect to perform any function you would expect it to. For this reason, Snapchat is consistently ranked high in functionality, across a wide range of review platforms.
The Snapchat design has remained relatively consistent throughout the years. Upon loading the app, users will find a camera, with a snapshot button at the bottom. The app is colorful and youthful, with the filters providing Instagram-like colors that will appeal to avid social media users. The story section, where Snapchatters can read posts by magazines and companies, is also colorful and lively. The app uses lots of rounded geometric shapes. This helps convey the youthfulness of the app, and will appeal to those that prefer more fun and less serious designs. It is, however, niche by design and will deter a wider demographic. This is a drawback for the company, and for potential users who enjoy the idea of Snapchat, but don't appreciate the childish design. The design is also plain at times, meaning that it can just as easily lose the attention of the millennial audience the app covets.
In terms of usability, Snapchat ranks well. It's simple, fun and convenient to use. To send snaps, you simply access the photo function that is present upon loading. Using the large rounded button at the bottom, you can snap a photo, and then send it by tapping the blue button that will appear shortly after. This is essentially how you use Snapchat, and the usability doesn't span further than that. All of the buttons on the screen are clearly visible and easy to use. There is little confusion over what buttons perform what function, which helps improve the usability. To use filters, you simply swipe to the left, and to change your appearance you simply double tap on your face using the front-facing camera. The usability of the app is also made better by the easy video function. To create a short video, you simply tap and hold the snapshot button. This is one example of the many easy to use utilities featured on this app.
Cross-platform use 5/5
Snapchat represents a pack of other, cross-platform savvy apps that fare well on multiple devices. Both Android and iOS handle Snapchat well, and the biggest development for the app has been the recent addition of Snapchat Online - a browser-based platform that allows users to send snaps from their laptops.
Snapchat offers no in-app purchases at the time, having killed its face swap filters and snap replays. Therefore, it's a totally free app that can be used by anyone with a tablet; mobile device or computer. While no paid extra content is good, no extra content at all is definitely a downside.
Snapchat is a great app for younger chatters who enjoy sending photos, and videos, without any sense of permanence. It is temporary, although users may take screenshots, - and totally fun. Overall, this is a great app to communicate with your friends. Thanks to the addition of stories, users can now also keep up to date with news and magazine features, that will be uploaded by companies onto Snapchat stories for all to stream. The recent addition of live streams is also a fun feature to make use of.