Why is Reddit Still Popular Despite Having Bad UI and Graphic Design?





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If you are a designer or a web developer, you have probably noticed that Reddit is one of the ugliest websites out there.

It was designed by founders Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian back in 2005 when they were fresh graduates from the University of Virginia.

Reddit is one of the most visited websites on the Internet, but it looks like it was made in 1995. Why is that?

Read our article to find out!

If you’ve never heard of Reddit, I’m afraid you may have been living under a rock. Reddit has been around for 15+ years and has dominated the social media era ever since it’s started.

But it’s hard to understand how they’ve managed to upkeep a whopping 430 million active users worldwide without hardly ever-changing the UI or graphic design throughout the years.

Single handily, the main reason Reddit has managed to continuously perform at its peak with poor UI and graphic design is down to the community that has developed around this social media site. These so-called Redditors are dedicated to the site and use it as their only means of social media. This is because Reddit’s focus isn’t all about becoming influences and showing exotic items. Reddit is somewhere people can ask questions and receive humorous or generally intelligent answers.

It’s clear that many social media trends such as “memes” were established on Reddit and eventually filtered their way through mainstream websites like Facebook and Instagram.

Let’s be honest with each other here, the graphic design of Reddit is poor, but there’s good reasoning for it.

In this article, we’ll discuss why Reddit has a minimalistic design, as well as why people love using this platform so much.

Here you will see why Reddit is still popular.

Why Does Reddit Use Bad UI and Graphic Design?

Before we get into why Reddit is such a popular website, let’s discuss why they choose to go for a minimalistic design.

It could be down to various reasons, but below are my justifications as to why they use a graphic design like this.


The first is speed.

After running a Light House report on their website through both mobile and desktop, the performance rating was only on average around 70. In terms of “speed” within social media platforms, this is just about right for the sheer capacity they have to optimize for.

If they were to use a more graphical design on Reddit, the page speed would plummet even further.

In fears that this could potentially happen if they update their already well-performing design into something more unique, maybe the reason why they stick to a minimalistic design.  

In terms of speed, that’s about it, but what are the other aspects that may be the reason why Reddit uses this type of graphic design?

Easy to navigate

By just looking at Reddit’s interface, it’s rather easy to navigate the website to your profile, trending topics, and to communities that you’re involved in.

Even though most social media use similar graphic designs, I have to vouch that Reddit is by far the easiest. 

Reddit still popular

With other platforms like Facebook becoming increasingly popular with advertising,

it can quickly become frustrating as it covers most of your feed. However, with Reddit, they only use various display ads here and there.

They tend to only crop up every once and a while, this gives the user a much better experience as they’re not pressured to buy anything every five seconds.

Increases content engagement

Because of the simple design they use, it really highlights the actual content that’s available on Reddit

Therefore, it’ll increase the engagement that posts can receive on their platform.

Either if you view Reddit on desktop or mobile, the main point of focus is the feed, AKA content.

Reddit wants its users to interact with each other, talk about exciting trends, or have casual debates.

They understand the power their platform has, and you can almost say they’ve kept it original by the lack of paid advertisements that can be shown on their site.

Why change anything when it works?

Reddit has done spectacularly since they first launched back in 2005, and still to this day, they are continuing to do fantastic.

Because they’ve achieved such greatness with the “classic” UI and graphic design, why change it? It’s clearly working, so there shouldn’t be any need to develop something that may negatively affect the platform.

Social media users can quickly change their primary source due to updates they’re not fond of.

I’ve personally experienced this when Instagram made the jump between their old and new layout.

I much preferred the older design and haven’t been back on the platform since.

It’s evident that Reddit is extremely popular, and if you happen to be unfamiliar with the whole universe of Reddit, you’re seriously missing out on some excellent internet pleasure.

While this platform was founded by a couple of students in their dorm room back in 2005, it’s honestly been a phenomenon.

For those who don’t know, Reddit is divided into particular thematic sections that are known as “subreddits”.

Within each section, Redditors can post forum-like content for individuals around the globe to enjoy.

These subreddits can vary from political views all the way to childish memes, and it’s a never-ending cycle.

So you’re able to grasp a better understanding of why Reddit is still as popular and addicting as it once was 15+ years ago, see below.

1. It’s Not Like Typical Social Media

When you think of social media, what do you genuinely think of? I know what I think, and that’s the excessive number of influencers that show their glamorous lifestyle to the public in attempts to gain popularity.

It’s tiring over a period of time, and Redditors are far from this. Instead of showing off, they generally discuss relatable and trending topics.

2.The Community That’s on Reddit

The community that Reddit has built-in comparison to other social media’s is like no other.

Although it has a significant reputation of being filled with internet trolls, this is the same for any platform that shares a social experience.

Apart from the trolls, you’ll find users generally helping each other out with everyday adulting issues, finances, legal work, and much more.

Another great feature of Reddit is their ask me anything (AMA) feature. Here you’re able to ask any questions to an array of targeted users that have the knowledge and capability to give you a logical answer.

For those who are aware of Quora, the AMA section performs in a similar way.  

3.Redditors Are Hilarious

Redditors are funny, and in fact, most of the community is.

They bounce off each other well and have hit new article headlines by performing the most outrageous pranks and stunts.

For instance, take their wall streetbets subreddit for an example.

They made huge headlines at the start of the year by skyrocketing GameStop’s stocks and made investors that are shorting the stock lose millions of dollars.

Reddit Users

Reddit users have been loyal to the website for a long time.

Redditors on average spend 15 minutes browsing Reddit, which is more than 30% of their daily internet usage.

This loyalty is due in part to the fact that Redditors are very passionate about what they like and don’t like about the site and will often voice their opinion publicly or even vote with their feet by leaving Reddit if not happy with changes made.

For example, when moderators were banned from public commenting during December 2015, many subreddits decided together to make themselves private until this policy was changed back again.

The reason why people are so vocal?

They feel they’ve earned it through spending hours interacting through comments and voting every day over a period of years (even decades).

Reddit UX design

Reedit UX design is a nightmare but it works

Reddit’s success is due to a combination of factors, including the fact that its interface and design are not without faults.

For instance, when Reddit launched its mobile app in 2017, it was met with user backlash because the UI resembled an iPhone application rather than something for Android devices (even though they were already available).

Furthermore, while there have been plenty of improvements since then – such as AMAs showing up first-time instead of having to scroll through a bunch of comments before finding what you’re looking for – the site still looks very 1990s from your phone.

Not only has this bad UX made people want to leave Reddit altogether but also caused many new members who tried out reedit UX design to find themselves confused when navigating the platform.

Who designed Reddit?

The site’s design is a result of the product team at Reddit, which includes co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

He attributes most of the work to one designer, in particular, Dan McComas.

“I think he would be very offended if you called him our ‘lead’ designer,” says McComas in an interview with Motherboard.

“We don’t have any designers on staff.”

He emphasizes that they are not graphic artists but rather people who build interfaces for nerds by day and Nerdfighters by night (Redditors vs. Redditors).

This means their focus was more on experimenting with different layouts than what something looks like or how it functions.

Reddit Will improve its design?

Is Reddit going to improve its design? we are not graphic designers.

want to make it more ‘consumer product-y’ and not just for nerds.”

In addition, the site’s usability is often criticized by design professionals because of limited functionality in areas like navigation or notification systems.

Reddit has made improvements but still lags behind other sites that have better UI/UX due to their focus on developing a social media platform where people can share news and content about what interests them most.

The company also focuses too much on individual subreddits which may have good designs rather than general website aesthetics.

McComas says they might use this feedback as inspiration for future redesigns if there are any significant changes from an algorithmic perspective with how users consume content: “I would love to take another crack at it!

The Old Reddit design

The old Reddit design was better. The site has gone through many redesigns in the past decade, most notably one that happened back in 2015 when they focused on more of a “stream” style layout rather than sorting posts by subreddits and categories like before.

This led to increased engagement with users but left many people dissatisfied who liked how it used to be organized differently which is why there are so many different UI/UX styles within each subreddit for things like post display or comment moderation tools.

In late 2017, moderators were also given complete control over what languages show up in their individual communities without having to rely on volunteers from across the world translating content – this made international outreach much easier and helped them grow internationally as well as domestically.

A Reddit user Expects?

The most important thing for users is engagement.

Users want content from their favorite subreddits upvoted so they can see what other people are enjoying in real-time without having to go through waves of comments like on Facebook or Twitter.

They also enjoy being able to comment themselves. Reddit does not provide this experience well because there are many different styles within each subreddit which makes some communities feel less “tight-knit” than others even though all communities still function nicely together despite missing out on better cohesion between them.

Reddit is not user experience focus

The most important thing for Reddit users is the ability to engage with content. Users want to see what their favorite subreddits are upvoted so they can follow along in real-time without having to go through waves of comments like on Facebook or Twitter.

In my opinion, Reddit needs more control over how things look and work across the board as it stands today.

There should be consistency throughout both graphic design and user interface performance at least when you’re using a desktop computer browser instead of just mobile.

A Meme on Reddit

People come to Reddit because of the convenience and also curiosity, but they stay for a sense of belonging within their niche groups that don’t exist elsewhere.

They’re willing to put up with a bad design and more bugs than other social media sites in order to keep coming back day after day.

As long as these qualities are kept alive by all aspects of the site, Reddit will continue being popular despite not having good UI/UX or graphic design when compared to its peers such as Facebook or Twitter.

-Users enjoy how easy it is to comment without getting drowned out by waves upon waves of comments like you do on Facebook or Twitter.


It’s clear to understand that despite Reddit having poor UI and graphic design, the site is still extremely popular.

The main reason that this type of social media platform has done so well is down to its users, and its strong community that’ll be hard to break with any other Reddit-like platform.

Although it’s a rare case that a social media platform doesn’t update its interface significantly over the years of use, Reddit has done a great job doing this and will continue to do so throughout the years.

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