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UX & Technology, UX Design, UX Strategy

BeReal: The UX Perspective

BeReal is a new, upcoming app that aims to offer a more ‘realistic’ approach to social media. Unlike other apps where editing, scrolling and stalking is rife, BeReal is focused on ‘authenticity’ and keeping up with the genuine day-to-day lives of friends and family. As we’re a UX design consultancy, who keep an eye out on the latest tech trends and developments, we wanted to take a look at the app from a UX perspective. So, we asked our team of experts what they thought of the app, how it seems to be working well and where there is room for improvement in terms of user experience!

What is BeReal?

Before we get into the opinions of our UX consultants, we thought it would be beneficial to give a brief description on the actual elements of BeReal, for those who have never heard of the app, or don’t use it.

As previously mentioned, BeReal is all about being authentic, and posting ‘real-life’ content. The elements below all come together in order to achieve their tag line – ‘Your friends for real’:

  • At one point everyday, users across the world get a notification at the same time, telling them that they have two minutes to take a picture and upload it as their daily BeReal.
  • The camera takes a picture from both the front and back camera simultaneously so you can see exactly what everyone is doing in that one moment. 
  • You can retake the picture as many times as you want, but it will tell your friends this when the picture is uploaded. 
  • If you post outside of the two minute window, your friends will be notified, as this may mean that you purposely chose not to take your BeReal when you were asked, thus going against the app’s desire of authenticity. 
  • You cannot see your friends BeReal’s unless you have posted yours, eliminating the ‘silent stalkers’ you see on other social media platforms. 
  • You can comment on your friends posts, and react with ‘RealMojis’ – your face showing different emotions, instead of Emojis

Does it have positive UX elements?

According to our UX consultants, the app is inviting as it has novel elements not just in its concept, but also in how it has been built. The simple interface, with minimal profile elements allows for a new, refreshing experience of social media. The app seems solely based on its aim: your friends for real. A dark UI, specifically a black background, allows for the focus to instead be on content uploaded by friends and family. 

The same can be said for the ‘RealMojis’, which take a common concept (reactions to content) and make it new, as well as personable. The user can react with their own facial expressions, making that communication ever so slightly more personal. The overall experience feels new, even though the concept it is built upon is not. 

Can BeReal improve its user experience?

However, there are areas in which BeReal could be improved. Users have mentioned that there are issues with the actual usability of the app, complaining that:

  • They have problems with adding friends and accepting friend request
  • It can take hours for their photo to upload, sometimes failing to upload all together
  • Those with a broken front/back camera should be able to take both photos from only one camera 

Our own UX consultants looked at the specifically just the UX elements, and gave very interesting feedback, including:

  1. There is an inconsistent layout of username/location/timestamp. 

          Friends appears at the top as:

            Username

             Location Timestamp

         Whereas your own appears as (with no location shown):

           Username Timestamp

      2. The ‘…’ button opens up more information on the BeReal photo:

  • Exit cross is at the centre/bottom which feels odd with an ‘options’ in the bottom right where they can then delete their daily BeReal.
  • You could improve this by having the user click on the BeReal, opening up the details of the BeReal and leave the ‘…’ to give the user options (similar to the options on an Instagram post). 
  • Also, there is a ‘…’ on your profile page to open a menu. It would be better to use a hamburger menu icon for this, and leave ‘…’ for actions. 

      3. If you don’t click ‘Add a caption…’ accurately, it posts as a comment.

If you’ve used BeReal yourself, comment down below and tell us what you think of it! And, if you’re a UX designer, or just a tech-lover, let us know – do you think BeReal could be improved?

The UX Connections View

Sophie Curzon
UX Consultant

BeReal is great, and I use the app everyday. One thing that I’ve noticed though, that could be improved, is that when viewing ‘Your Memories’ it uses a downward arrow instead of a back arrow which I think would be more suitable and easily understood.

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