Episode 2.3 “Instagram”, the good, the bad and the features to add
Hi and welcome to this week’s episode of ProdActivity, where we review and analyse apps and websites, used daily, from the product perspective. In today’s episode, we are looking at a hot topic — #Instagram, a social media channel that started as a photo-sharing platform in 2010 and then was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Today Instagram is the largest platform for photo-enthusiasts, but it is more than that and keeps evolving daily. Is it for better or worse? The time will show. But today, let get into “Instagram”, the good, the bad and the features to add.
Before I start, I want to make the format of the episode a bit different. Instead of saying all the goods and then bads and then offering suggestions, we will do all as we go page by page or section by section. Ok, let’s do it! Starting the review was hard and it took me longer than needed. Every time I opened the app I would scroll and scroll forgetting why I am here. 😊 For the company, it is perfect, means more engagement. For the users, it just shows how addictive and unhealthy this has become (bad). When I open the app, is simple and easy — stories on top and then posts to go through.
First post appeared on my feed was a video. Video starts automatically, which can eat through your data, but it is the way SM works today and do not see it changing. The video sound if off. It is good, as you may be in public and may not want sound blasting suddenly. The problem is, because of that you may miss part of the video. Especially in shorter videos where you can not rewind, this means waiting for the whole minute or less to turn on the sound and watch again. My suggestion would be, for video have a 2 sec. delay in the beginning for the sound to be turned on.
As mentioned, on top of the page there is a horizontal section for “stories”- pictures that disappear in 24 hours. The line on top has a benefit of creating a separation of sections. But there is a big minus for the engagement, most of the users I know, including myself, use Instagram to check the stories only. After stories the user leaves the app, without feeling a need of checking posts as well. My suggestion would be to put some stories on top, lets say 10 to 15, then have next 10–15 in the middle, as a divider, and so on. Also, would be cool if the user could choose who would appear on top stories. Like their favourites ones. The stories are shows with the colourful ring around them, and it is super easy to add a new story or several stories with a simple swipe to the right. If your story is a long video, it will automatically be separated into several 15 second videos. There is just enough amount of texts, gifs, types of media for story creation. More will be messier, less will be not enough — so this is a big plus for stories!
The posts are equally cool and easy. There is a dedicated button on the feed to add new posts, edit them relatively in details, tag others as well. You can also add several pictures or 1-minute long videos. If the video is longer it automatically becomes part of IGTV, which is part of Instagram for longer videos. The one downside in posts is that, and I am not sure if it is a bug on Android phone or what, but sometimes it crops the pictures, when added many, and does not allow the user to fix it. My suggestion is pretty forward here, fix the issue please. Besides that, it is easy to engage, like or comment or report or share the post. Talking about likes, being shown or hidden — it was a hot debate. But I think it may indeed help with a mental health. So, I applaud this.
I just mentioned, posts, stories and IGTV. Depending on when you are listening, recently at the end of November 2020, the platform has added even more products within itself. These are the “Reels”, dare I say the copy of Tik-tok; and the “Shop” — similar to Shopify. People were using Instagram to repost tik-tok videos or do e-commerce anyway, so Instagram just made these official now with matching and differentiated designs and new pages. As an example, you can create shopping baskets and have wish lists, which is nice. I personally never have used Tik-Tok or Shopify to compare the platforms, but I know one thing for sure: People are complaining all over twitter and Instagram (oh, the irony) about the changes. Their complaints are not unfounded. Instagram is becoming like its parent company, Facebook, trying to do all at once. This creates more noise and anxiety for user, more complexity for the internal support teams. So, at this time I disapprove the changes!
With these changes, two buttons, like button for likes page and add new post buttons have shifted up next to direct messaging buttons. It is a bit more crowded now, but still looks fine. The likes page shows likes, follow requests and follow suggestions for you. It is clean, dedicated and simple, looks great! We already talked about adding new posts, and final of three is direct messages. It is a chat page, which is basic but works well. The call function may even work better than other apps sometimes. You can send disappearing or normal mages, gifs, emojis, mute calls or messages and more. Really easy to control! The only suggestion I had was to show the length of the voice message you record or the other person has sent, but it is done now as well. Happy about that!
We will sum up soon, but there are three pages left. First is the search page. You can search hashtags, profiles, names, posts from location, scan qr codes and it does what it should. First when you open the page, you are offered posts that you may be interested in, based on your history. This super fun and can suck you in for quite some time. Again, good for company, bad for user.
Finally, our last page is the profile page. You see the stats of your profile on top, with basic info and avatar. Below you have a button to edit the info, followed by your highlighted stories and posts. You can put a link in your profile, unlike the posts, which is super annoying. Highlights are awesome and you can create highlights, like folders, as an example for each country you visit or each hobby of yours. Posts are presented in a grid system, for easier navigation. You can also see posts where you are tagged in, you can manage them and delete them if needed. On the right corner there is a hamburger menu. Here your settings, your QR, which is kind of cool but kind of useless; then you have your saved posts, archive and close friends list. Saved posts is cool to save recipes, clothing items, workout exercises for example. Archives is also a nice feature, where it shows old stories of yours, but in reverse order that is not intuitive, not sure why. Finally, there is a list of close friends you can create to share your posts with. My suggestion will be is to allow to create several groups of close friends and allow to create close friend groups by location. With that the profile section is done as well and with it the whole platform is done. The desktop version is basically the same, so everything said here applies to desktop as well.
Today we tried to capture the analysis of Instagram platform with all its new features and changes, and I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks a lot for listening and as always remember to check Anchor audio version and check Teespring link in the description for apparel by GetGuided. Thanks for listening, stay safe, talk to you later