Web Design Grids and Snapchat’s Chaotic UI

Any type of design has a need for organization. If design and design processes are not organized, the project can easily fail or not look as intended. This is especially important when dealing with web design. Design also has a need for creativity though. We cannot let our creativity get stuck in a bubble because of how our design is organized. There is almost an art to balancing the two in an attempt to create perfect designs. A great tool for helping to accomplish this at least for web design is the grid. Web design is constantly changing and evolving, yet the way that web design appeals to an average user is ease of use and organization. The grid is a perfect way to assist in providing both of those things.

Using the outline of a standard website design grid allows for perfect margins and spacing between elements on the page. It ensures that the borders of the web page will not be cluttered and gives the designer a perfect amount of space to work with. Grids help web designers create layouts way more efficiently which in turn saves time and resources. The design of the grid also keeps things visually balanced without much extra effort. This proves to provide the designer with a very convenient organizational tool. This type of organization will also be a key factor in helping the designer to be able to guide the user to specific areas of the website or any specific visual communication. Grids do this in a way that keeps web designers organized, yet still give them plenty of room for creativity.

Creativity and organization, however, do not always go hand in hand. Snapchat, for example, has a lot of creativity going for them, but their platform seems to lack organization. According to Carmel DeAmicis’s article, Snapchat may have actually succeeded due to its chaotic UI. I feel that this proves that creativity sometimes can triumph over organization and design rules. Snapchat often heavily relies on its users due to its “shareable UI.” Generally, designers do not want to make people think which is why it is known to be important to create an intuitive UI. Snapchat goes directly against that and relies on its large user base to share the UI features with each other. Its important to note this exception and success story, but we have to be careful and understand that Snapchat was able to create this “shareable UI” only because they have such a large number of users that talk about the platform with each other.

Snapchat’s breakthrough ideas in design also gave the app the upper hand with doing whatever they want on their UI. The app was the first app of its time to open directly to the camera which changed the way social media worked. As DeAmicis’s states, “the unconventional choice encouraged people to actually create their own content, instead of just consume others’ posts.” Keeping this in mind, Snapchat sort of broke the design standards just with their original idea. There could have been major drawbacks or backlash from this, but luckily for them their creativity successfully beat the design world’s norms in terms of organization and general rules.

I am the type of person that always checks my work with design rules and grids and any type of organization that I can possibly follow. However, there are moments where I have thought that I may have an interesting creative way to change a design norm while still looking clean and professional. I think there are only a small number of occasions where this creativity would successfully create an environment in a design that would be a benefactor to the project, yet Snapchat’s UI along with DeAmicis’s article make me question my organization. I do not think that Snapchat’s UI design is a reason for all designers to break free from design norms, however, I do think that we, as designers, should learn from Snapchat and be as creative as we can when designing.