Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

VSCO Updated With New Interface

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.

The app no longer has a “hamburger” menu on the side to jump to different sections, nor does it have any kind of tab bar.

Instead, there’s a floating circle at the bottom similar to the Camera shutter, except with three horizontal lines running through it. Tapping on it does nothing. But sliding it up, down, or to either side switches between different sections of the app, kind of like a joystick.

For instance, dragging down on it while in the Library view will pull up a menu to filter images based on whether they’ve been edited. Dragging right from the Library will take you to the Explore view. Dragging down here will pull up a search box. Dragging up on the joystick thing from anywhere in the app will pull up the camera.

There’s a strange staggered layout to the posts in the Explore feature. They alternate left and right sides seemingly at random; posts from the same users posted on the same day might have two images on the right followed by one on the left.

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. Even the hard-to-understand icons for various editing tools — saturation, highlight levels, sharpness, and so on — have been redesigned and are now impossible to understand.

There’s not another app providing the kind of quality and variety available in VSCO, so I’m going to have to get used to this. But I really don’t like it.