VSCO Updates Its UI

Nick Heer for Pixel Envy:

I am a long-time fan of VSCO, but I have never really liked its interface. It suffers from Don’t Wash Tennis Balls syndrome, with inscrutable icons and odd control patterns. But it’s something I’ve gotten the hang of over the years because the results are worth it.

Today’s update brings with it an even more abstruse interface. If you’re one of those people who finds Snapchat difficult to understand — and I feel your pain — you’re going to be completely lost in the new version of VSCO.

Quite honestly, everything VSCO does that doesn’t pertain to its photo editor is garbage. For some reason they think their social network can still catch on, and they've updated their app to reflect that notion.

Toggling the new “joystick” left and right seems to switch you between their social network and your personal collection. The latter part is the only part of VSCO that should even be left to exist, but even that became more difficult to use — now I see all these proper nouns like “Journal”, “Collection”, and “Collected images” that are apparently different things.

It’s all very bizarre and very little of it makes sense to me. The app hasn’t changed much under the hood, so far as I can tell, but nearly every aspect of its presentation is different.

The iconography in the editor has been totally, and needlessly, refreshed. In fact it’s now worse: a white circle indicates “Saturation”, while a slightly shaded white circle indicates “Fade”. Even if you won’t be using the social network, you’re going to be having a hard time.

As Heer says, the functionality of the app hasn’t changed much, so it’s still worth using. That said, I’ll still be using it, albeit begrudgingly.

But hey, at least it’s pretty to look at. I think VSCO is an example of what happens when you make an artist your UI designer.