Your smartphone can be used for dozens of tasks throughout the day. Taking photos of your friends, looking up directions to a nearby restaurant, even purchasing movie tickets online – it’s all done using the computer you keep in your pocket. But of all the things you can do with your phone, nothing is more important than using it to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues. Between texting, email, social media, and instant messaging, there are endless ways to make plans, catch up, and speak to people around the world throughout the day. Unfortunately, the current structure of messaging can often feel boring and monotonous. While we all send text messages or communicate on Facebook each day, there’s nothing more fun than spicing things up a bit, and that’s where Snapchat comes in.
While Snapchat does have a basic text-based communication option, most people know Snapchat as an application built to send temporary photos and videos to your friends directly, or to share your day directly with all of your friends and followers on the platform. Snapchat’s effects and filters help make communication feel a bit more fun, social, and entertaining. With the addition of lenses that change the way your face looks on the platform, it’s easy to modify your messages to make them funny, goofy, or silly. Same goes for the inclusion of filters and Bitmoji avatars, which take the basic idea of communicating through emojis and allow them to be personalized and modified to fit a specific mood, theme, or time of day. For plenty of smartphone owners, Snapchat is their main method of communication, allowing for text, images, and effects to be combines to create a more personalized message.
Unfortunately for Snapchat fans, it’s no secret that the app has been in need of a radical redesign for quite some time. The app’s interface has grown more and more crowded and clustered as Snap Inc. continued to add new features, both to keep users excited about the application and to compete with Instagram, an app quickly recreating Snapchat’s most-used features like augmented reality effects and stories and gaining in users quickly. So when Snapchat finally announced a massive redesign to their application, users and technology reporters alike were curious. How would this new application look and function? Would it change the core of Snapchat, or just slap a new coat of paint on a flawed, complicated design.
With the update rolling out to Android beta users and select Snapchat users over the next few weeks, we’ve finally seen the redesign in action, and overall, it’s a step in the right direction. Snapchat has managed to keep the same functionality as their original application while simultaneously making the entire app a bit more manageable and a bit more modern in both its appearance and its general look and feel. Still, you might be thrown off by how snaps are sent in the new redesign, so it’s worth looking at how sending snaps in the brand-new Snapchat app works. Even for an old pro, the modified application might just be enough to throw you off. Let’s take a look.
Sending a Snap
There’s a good chance you won’t notice anything out of the ordinary when you first open the Snapchat app following the update being pushed to your phone. At first glance, the app is nearly the same, opening on the camera application and immediately allowing you access to start creating photos and videos. The Chat and Discover icons remain in their same placements, found in the lower-left and right-hand corners respectively, though you may notice the Discovery icon has been changed and modified slightly to match the look of the new layout. To send a snap, you’ll start by doing the same exact thing you’ve always done in Snapchat: using the shutter button to compose a photo or video. Tap on the shutter button once to capture a photo, or press and hold to record a video. You can activate the AR lenses by tapping on the screen to enable them, and filters can be used once you’ve recorded your photo or video by swiping left or right on the display.
Once you’re done creating your “Snapsterpiece,” hit the blue send button in the lower-right corner of the display. It’s here where changes to the app become immediately apparent. The previous display for sending messages was a separate display that sorted your options in a list form, but it’s clear from the screenshot posted here that the new interface is completely different. In our testing, we’ve become rather fond of the current display for sending snaps, as it’s much easier to manage and looks like a more modern version of what we’ve come to expect from Snapchat. Gone is the original white background, instead overlaying a transparent window on your snap with the menu for selecting individuals to receive your photo or video. But how does this menu work? It might look overwhelming, but the good news is that browsing for a name has never been easier.
At the very top of the page is your options for posting a Story, which can be done on a personal level, a public level by sending the Story to Snapchat’s curated feed, or on a group level, with the Story posted within the group itself. Below that, however, is your list of best friends, the people you snap with most often. In previous versions of the app, you were able to set a personal number on how many friends your account had. However, it seems that option has been removed in this new version of the app from the Additional Services option in Settings, and the option now defaults to up to eight. If you only have seven, six, five, or even less best friends on your account, that’s the number you’ll see appear in this category. Originally, the best friends category was shown in list form, but it has since been reformatted to show the list in a two-column tile layout, thereby saving room to display the recents list more prominently below.
Each contact listed as a best friend will display their Bitmoji (or a colored avatar, if that user hasn’t created a Bitmoji for their Snapchat account), along with the applicable emoji or emojis to demonstrate their level of best-friendship with you on Snapchat, and any ongoing streak. To send your snap to one or more of your best friends, simply select their name(s) from this list. You’ll see their name highlight in blue, with a check mark appearing on their Bitmoji or silhouette avatar. Likewise, their names will appear at the bottom of the display to let you know they’ve been selected to receive the snap.
Below your list of your best friends, you’ll find the full listing for your recent contacts. Unlike your best friends, which are listed in order of top friend down, your recents list is sorted in reverse-chronological order, starting with the person you most-recently messaged on the service and descending from there. This list uses the same interface that we saw on previous iterations of the app, but modified to fit the new theme created by Snap Inc. Your best friends won’t display as recents, in order to prevent confusion with accounts appearing twice in your list. In addition to the names of your recent contacts, you’ll also see recent groups meshed into this category, and the ability to see any applicable emojis next to certain friends (for example, the smirk emoji that indicates you are that contact’s best friend, but they aren’t yours). If you do have a group listed in your recents category, you’ll see the group members listed below the name. At the bottom of your recents tab, you’ll see the option to load more names; you can select this three times before the list ends.
If you’re looking to send a snap to one of your groups online, but the group isn’t listed in your recents, you can scroll below the recents category to find the option for your groups. There, you’ll see any groups you’re a part of, either started by you or ones that you’ve been added into. You can select as many of these groups as you want, and the names will be highlighted in blue and added to your send queue at the bottom of the snap. If you need to create a new group, you can select “New Group” from above the category. The “New Group…” page currently looks identical to the old version of the app, though consider we’re listed on the beta version of the update, there’s a strong chance this will change sometime in the future.
Like any other category on this list, you can select as many different groups to send to as you’d like, and each group will receive their own copy of the snap. As usual, photos and videos will be listed in the chat section of the group message, and though they can only be played (and replayed) once, but chat logs will remain visible in the group for 24 hours, similar to a Story.
Sending a Snap to Someone Else
Finally, if you’re looking to send a snap to someone else in your contacts who isn’t listed in your best friends, recents, or in a group chat you share with others, you have a few distinct ways of selecting the person you want to send. The first is to keep scrolling down the list, past the groups category, until you reach the alphabetical contacts list labeled “Friends.” It’s here where you’ll find the full available list of people you can send snaps to, though searching for a specific name in alphabetical order can be a real pain. The easier method is to search for a name using the search box at the top of the app. Labeled “Send to…,” tapping on the search icon will bring up the option to immediately search a name or username. Typing in even a single letter will load the “Send a Snap” menu, and you can select as many names from this as you wish. This is also the best way to send snaps to public users that appear in your friends list, as they’ll be listed along with your other friends and contacts once you’ve added them.
Once this full refresh for Snapchat begins to roll out to all users, it will be interesting to see whether or not Snapchat’s fans take to the new method of using the app. The biggest change comes with how Stories work and function, but sending a Snap has been modified as well, and social media users are well-known not to accept change lightly. Still, we think the new Snapchat update is, more or less, a home run. While the app still has its fair share of issues and problems, specifically when it comes to the Android version of the app, we must say that the refreshed app goes a long way in helping Snapchat feel like a more modern platform, capable of standing up next to better-looking apps like Instagram or Twitter.
The update hasn’t revolutionized the way you send a snap, but it has made it faster and easier to find the person or group you’re looking for. The revised layout and updated search menu make it a better experience for every user, and we’re hoping Snapchat continues to update and upgrade their app throughout the coming months.