Reddit Is Changing the Way You Navigate Your Feeds

Reddit Is Changing the Way You Navigate Your Feeds

Reddit is changing your feed. The company announced in a post to r/reddit on Wednesday that it would be rolling out a steady stream of changes, improvements, and updates to users’ main feed over the next few months. The first change, which will go live today, relates to feed design in Reddit’s iOS and Android apps. With the new update, feeds will move from the top of the app screen to a drop-down menu.

Thankfully, though, the changes won’t be like Instagram. In other words, no cascade of countless videos you didn’t ask for and pictures of randos you don’t follow, unlike other platforms.

You can check out what the change looks like in the GIF below. It might have already appeared in your Reddit app, like it did on mine.

Put away your digital pitchforks! It's not a big change. (Gif: Courtesy of Reddit)
Put away your digital pitchforks! It’s not a big change. (Gif: Courtesy of Reddit)

It’s a simple change, Reddit explained, and it will not change the way most users switch between the “Home,” “News,” and “Popular” feeds — by swiping left and right. Users will be able to switch between feeds by tapping on the drop-down menu and choosing the feed they want to browse.

The company explained that, going forward, it will be making changes to the feed in three areas: feed architecture (how users interact and switch between feeds); feed expansion (more specific Reddit-provided feeds tailored to interests such as gaming, sports, and beauty); and feed performance (high quality feeds with fast loading times).

“Our hope is that these upcoming improvements to feeds on Reddit not only allow you to have a more customised and simplified Reddit experience, but also helps you discover and join even more relevant and engaging communities and conversations,” the social media platform wrote.

Furthermore, in the “not-so-distant future,” users will be able to create their own feeds of personalised content. This means that, for example, a BTS fan like myself will be able to create a feed full of BTS-only content, basking in the glow of the seven group members, and not have to stumble upon the latest political kerfuffle from the world’s brilliant politicians. In addition, users will also be able to remove feeds based on their preferences.

In an interview with Gizmodo, Suchit Dash, a vice president at Reddit in charge of discovery, which includes the feed and search, stressed that the social media platform wanted to give users more control over what they see and make Reddit more customisable.

“We want to ensure that every user has a unique experience that directly fits their needs, which is why we are starting with these changes,” Dash told Gizmodo via email.

It’s nice to see a social media platform work hard to improve on what it does best — the Reddit feed — and what users already like instead of trying to copy other platforms (*cough* Instagram *cough*). I think that this will ensure that Redditors appreciate the new changes instead of grabbing their digital pitchforks. It’s also a good reminder that social media platforms don’t need to try to be everything for users in order to be successful.

You can read Gizmodo’s full Q&A with Dash below.

Gizmodo: I know you all are starting off with a “simple” design change, but there will be more changes to the feed going forward. When was the last time there were so many changes to the feed? 

SD: We haven’t always had a continuous scrolling feed, but over time it has evolved and allowed redditors to engage in two different ways: scrolling through Home (communities users subscribe to) and Popular (the top content from across Reddit). We made these updates over the last few years and have learned that having more customisable experiences is something redditors enjoy. These new updates aim to make the product more customisable and give users more control over what they see.

Gizmodo: You all have stressed that Reddit is changing its feed design in order to make Reddit “simple.” I get that! Reddit can be intimidating to new users or even casual users that don’t spend tons of time there. Can you explain why you all think it’s important to make Reddit simpler? Have you all received comments saying Reddit is confusing, hard to use/figure out, or something along those lines? 

SD: As platforms grow and evolve, more experiences and ways of using it are added. Naturally, sometimes this can add layers. While some users enjoy and use all the layers, some have shared they enjoy a more streamlined approach. Through our product research and conversations with users, we’ve seen that a more intuitive experience is what they ultimately want. Getting to the communities they care about and finding those they may not know about is important.

Gizmodo: Another reason you all decided to enact these changes, as I understand, is to help Redditors find relevant content in their home feed. Do you all feel that Redditors aren’t finding that content in their feeds now? That’s surprising to me, since I feel like Reddit is always asking me to identify new interests and recommending new communities. How will the new home feed be different when it comes to content? 

SD: The goal of these upcoming improvements is to allow people to have a more customised and simplified experience and help them discover and join even more relevant and engaging communities and conversations.

Gizmodo: I was pleasantly surprised to hear you reference loading speeds. In general, everything runs fine on my end! However, every once in a while my home feed will just start thinking… thinking… and thinking. (And then no offence but I’ll just come back later lol.) Tell me a bit about how you all are addressing this in the changes. 

SD: Having content load faster is one area our teams are working on across the platform, and feeds loading time is a part of that.

Gizmodo: You are probably very well aware that users can be eh, unhappy, with changes to their favourite apps (see: Make Instagram Instagram Again movement). Did you all consider user backlash or rejection of the changes in this redesign? 

SD: To improve user experiences and grow as a company, we ultimately have to make changes to the platform. We actively source user feedback during our testing to establish that the updates we make improve their experience. Our goal is to do everything we can to ensure that the authentic, meaningful conversations that make Reddit what it is continue to flourish as we bring Reddit to more people around the world.

Gizmodo: Say you’re in an AMA (who knows! Maybe you’ll do one on this!) What message do you want to send to users about these upcoming changes? 

SD: We want to ensure that every user has a unique experience that directly fits their needs, which is why we are starting with these changes.

Gizmodo: Overall, how do you think these changes will help move Reddit forward as a company and social media platform? 

SD: What shapes the Reddit experience are the features and tools that users interact with. These updates will help propel the company forward by bringing in new users locally and internationally, all while driving more engagement.

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