Snapchat can be a whole new planet for anyone over 25. That’s why you should read what a 14-year-old has to say about it.

"Bring back the old Snapchat."

By Rishad Patel
Splice Design

Uma Kewlani is 14, in Grade 8, and a seasoned Snapchatter. This American kid lives in Singapore with her parents and her little brother, and has, like anybody else her age, an active social life that may even include meeting her friends IRL. 

Kidding. She has a YouTube channel, performs and writes poetry, is a dedicated gymnast and netball player, loves to sing, and does drama.

We spoke to Uma about what she thinks about the newest new Snapchat.

This is our first Splice Frames story, our weekly design newsletter where we’re exploring that tricky intersection of media and design. 

"It's supposed to be a quick and easy app to use to chat with your friends, but the multiple pages make Snapchat tedious to use." — Uma Kewlani. Photos: Uma Kewlani Illustration: Rishad Patel

How often do you use Snapchat?

On a daily basis, I use Snapchat around 12-15 times a day. I use it for contacting my friends and have started to replace WhatsApp with Snapchat. I tend to send snaps to my friends when what I am saying isn’t so important. But, if I need to tell my friends, perhaps a location, (something more important) I will use the texting feature that Snapchat provides. I used to use my Stories a lot, but now that I have gathered a lot of friends, I don’t use my Story as much. I would say that I use it twice a week.

Recently Snapchat said they wanted to keep your friends’ stories separate from professional stories. But now they seem to have put them back together again. Which one do you prefer?

The professional stories are actually still separate from your friends’ stories, but I would have to say that I prefer when they were together. It can get quite annoying to have to flip to two different pages to see people’s stories. Having all of the stories on one page, separate from news articles and such, is much better.

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What else have they changed about Snapchat? And what has been the change that’s most affected you?

Something else that they have changed is the fact that you can now change the time limit of a snap to infinity. I find that this completely takes away the purpose of Snapchat, which is to write a short sentence and then send it to someone with a 10-second—or under—time limit. Lots of people actually like this update, but I feel it could potentially be dangerous too.

What do you love about the new changes?

I actually do have quite a lot of things that I love. For example, Snapchat has now included GIFs, which makes your snaps really fun and enjoyable. Also, you have a separate page for stories or news articles that you have subscribed to, which is very helpful and convenient.

And what do you absolutely hate?

I absolutely hate the fact that there are multiple pages.

It makes Snapchat so complicated, and it’s not a minimalistic app anymore. Snapchat should be easy to use, and shouldn’t complicate things. It’s supposed to be a quick and easy app to use to chat with your friends.

The multiple pages make Snapchat tedious to use, which is why so many people deleted the app.

If you could design one thing about Snapchat, what would that be? What’s the one thing you absolutely wish for?

These aren’t only my ideas, as I talked to some of my friends about this question. Here are a few improvements that would be great:

  1. Snapchat could make boomerangs a feature, instead of only being able to use them on Snapchat.
  2. Users would be able to save a picture that your friend sends, instead of having to screenshot it and seeing their name in the top left-hand corner of the screenshot. Of course, the person that sends the picture will get a notification if someone saves their snap.
  3. If you post something on your story, you would be able to see how many times one person viewed that picture/video on their Story.
  4. Possibly reduce the number of ads. The ads on Snapchat have started to increase, and it can be very annoying if you are in the middle of watching someone’s Story.
  5. The one that everyone wants is to bring back the old Snapchat (maybe also stop updating the app so frequently, because sometimes it takes a while to get used to a whole new update).

Rishad Patel is a product and design professional. He is the co-founder of Splice Media. Follow Rishad Patel on Twitter.

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