How do you know its strategy and not a bad UX, regarding Snapchat?
Asaf Ben Oved

It’s true that any sufficiently popular but complicated system (NYC Subways, Zelda video games, Snapchat) will create asymmetrical relationships between those who have mastered the system and those who want to master it. As I clarified throughout the article though, the key difference between a bad UX and this strategy is that there is immediate value that absolutely any user can immediately access.

E.g. NYC is an exciting place to visit even without a map. You can have fun playing Zelda without knowing all the tricks. You can send a disappearing image with Snapchat without having to swipe or access hidden features.

Whether Snapchat purposefully leveraged the asymmetrical relationship strategy or accidentally hit on it, I personally can’t say. But given that they went out of their way to avoid using out-of-the-box menu templating that’s common across virtually every other app, I’d guess that they were a bit more intentional than they’re often credited.

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