Most probably, if you are a dedicated Snapchat user, you feel like a fish in a fish tank playing with filters, changing a doggy face to an acid-red wig, and other features that you must have already spent hours interacting with.
This may seem like an easy task to do, but, frankly saying, lots of senior people who are just getting a hang on those trendy devices feel quite unsure and spend hours, just to figure out how the simplest extension works.
It’s easy to fall for it and think that all the complex and obscure features are just a matter of future improvements and are what they are by chance.
In fact, I have to shed a bit of light by saying that the complexity of Snapchat and other smartphone social media networks is a pre-planned and designated strategy that has made them a bombshell in the last few years.
For this, here are introduced to you two mind inventions of our time: intuitive and sharable designs that will help understand how complexity and confusion enable small apps to turn into huge mega-hits and time-devourers.
It’s obvious that this might seem like an insane implication, but hey, Newton was a weirdo of his time as well, wasn’t he? When you get the sacred gist of this theory, you won’t be able to get it out of your head.
The Revolt of Intuition
The intuitive design was a huge breakthrough back in the day, the 1980s-90s, which started a new era of interface designs that put the old ones in the back drawer.
So to say, the first interfaces were a time-consuming monster that required special knowledge on how to properly input and use volumes of codes and commands that were driving everyone crazy simply due to their impracticability.
Graphical User Interfaces have changed the game by eradicating all the unnecessary actions and switching to what we call right now – icons and interface bar.
This is what we call ‘intuitive software’ since, now, it was so simplified comparing to its ‘older brother’ that you had to click on a pictogram and enjoying ‘saving,’ ‘printing,’ ‘zooming,’ and etc.
The reason for this was because of increasing popularity of computer technologies, and the developers had to figure out a means of how to keep it that way and make computers more practical and less tiring to use.
People may strongly oppose the effectiveness and influence intuitive interfaces have introduced into users life due to their ‘despicable look’ and ‘rusty functioning,’ but no one disagrees that their practicability has put a whole generation of software.
This is testified by the huge number of manuals and reference books focused specifically on how to use such software. For instance, the infamous fruit-brand published in the 1990s a set of instructive guidebooks for Macintosh users whereas, Microsoft had been busy with doing that for almost a decade.
Smartphones as the Hell’s Kitchen
It’s been almost twenty-ish years since someone opened one of those guides due to the speedy development of smartphone technologies, which have disclosed a whole new world.
Now, IT developers are no longer dedicated to sophisticating interfaces for people at desks since mobiles have taken over most of PCs’ and laptops’ functions, and therefore, are being targeted.
Inexhaustible smartphone updates have caused what is called the Second Wave of Digitalization. It’s defined by the constant use of kinetics and physical interaction with a cell phone by swiping, typing, clicking and etc., i.e., NO use of a computer mouse or keyboard.
These small gestures enable users to manipulate and control what used to be uncontrollable by human touch. It’s bringing generations of seemingly inhumane technologies to the source from which it all came– learning by watching, doing, and repeating.
If you watch your best friend use Tinder, an app you’ve surprisingly never heard of before, you’ll most probably install it yourself, and start swiping. But how do you know that it requires swiping as a control gesture? Right, saw your friend do it, and you simply repeated it.
If you still don’t get how it works then think of how you’ve learned how to iron a shirt. You’ve most probably watched your mother do it and tried, and tried, and tried until it was a perfectly plane piece of clothing ready for your date.
In other words, software developers haven’t discovered a brand-new way of user-application interaction, but simple rebranded the primary human strategy of getting a skill, i.e., by observing others do it, and made it – contagiously shareable.
The Generation of Sharing
As it’s deduced in the previous paragraph, the modern design is all about learning a new skill by watching people, using it right away and sharing it with others. This exclusively human ability has been exploited by many social networks that have adapted their platforms to smartphones.
Apart from making their content, again, contagiously shareable, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are to ‘blame’ for granting you with other two features, which in fact, are rather useful for your body, brain, and overall technological progress.
First of all, it encourages people to develop their long-time memory and pay attention to details, which are usually unnoticeable. Therefore, a brain starts engaging its focus and concentration center, making it more productive than most of the time. A person’s gesture and motoric skills and, also memory, make a great fit by always interacting and combing its forces, so to say.
Second of all, this touchscreen design is a motivator for software developers to reconsider their approach and add a few new tricks. For instance, think of the intuitive design mentioned a bit above, it’s the one that simplified the life of the residents of the 1990s by introducing them with a toolbar.
Now, if you think of a smartphone, you simply won’t see enough space to shove an interface row into the screen as it’d become a heck of uncomfortable to use.
Therefore, such leading companies as Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and others have been coming up with new cool features, which, again, simplify the use of a device by touching it in certain ways.
For instance, if you double-click the Home button on an iPhone, you’ll get an app menu, but if you do it thrice, you’ll most probably switch the phone to a black-n-white mode as an accessibility option.
All in all, now you can see how steep and clever the development of interface designs has been so far. It may seem like it’s all been simplified and accommodated for users, but don’t fall for it. The technology is getting more complex, but, maybe, it’s the humans are the ones who’re getting simpler?