I’m not saying that UIs should be inscrutable. However I do think there is something powerful in features that are easy to remember if not easy to fully discover and learn on your own. And I do think it’s a trend that will happen and continue. I don’t mean to be a rampant speculator — I studied HCI as an undergrad and spent 15 years of my career in engineering and product management roles building things like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and RealPlayer. So I’m trying to share my observations after 15 years of working on social and consumer products — even if you don’t appreciate them!
I think products like Tinder, Pokemon Go, Snapchat, and even a more recent fast growing app of HouseParty show that these kinds of socially discussed and engaging products can grow effectively even if the UIs are not as “intuitive” or easy to use at first by someone on their own. Part of the power of mobile is we have our “computers” with us at all times so it’s much easier to communicate about products or demonstrate things to each other than ever before.
I do think a key facet in the design of all of these products is that they are easy to use once you get it and even if you get it just once. The first time I learned how to record a video in Snapchat was non-intuitive and eye opening — you press and hold the camera button. But once I was shown it, I never had to relearn it, it made sense and felt very intuitive. So maybe we need to redefine “intuitive” as “easy to remember” not just “easy to discover”. And that easy to remember is really the point of what I was getting at in this new era of mobile design.