The Influence of Design Updates on Users: the Case of Snapchat

AbstractToday’s smartphone apps are regularly updated and enhanced through software updates. The case at hand is the popular social multimedia messaging app Snapchat that released a design overhaul in February 2018. While the update neither changed any features nor caused any relevant bugs or crashes, it led to an uproar of Snapchat’s users and significantly decreased its app store ratings and consequently revenue. As a result, Snap Inc., the company behind Snapchat, was forced to reverse design changes to appease their users. The initial adverse effects of the update were surprising; however, after using difference-in-difference tests in combination with sentiment analysis, our results indicate that design updates can be perceived negatively by users. We contribute to IS literature by evaluating the effect of design changes and the role of perceived ease of use in the post-adoption stage.

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