Instagram - UX Design Concept to Customize feed and Save time
Let people see what they want to see at a time.
I’ve started using Instagram back in 2015. from that day I’ve used Instagram almost daily. and many of you must have also used Instagram every day. it’s all good in all aspects if we follow some limited accounts but that’s a rare case. most of us follow accounts of all kind. such as friends, family, companies, some accounts related to fun, some related to profession, some related to interest base and some accounts for self-motivation.
Scrolling through Instagram can be time-consuming when you follow hundreds or thousands of accounts. This may feel unproductive if most of the content is not important to you at the time.
Most of people use Instagram according to mood. let’s take my example, I open Instagram whenever I feel bored. at that time I am mainly looking for funny/comedy posts, sometimes I open Instagram to see design related stuff. but I get all kind of posts at once. so I keep scrolling feed for a long time to see what I actually want to see. which is an actual waste of time.
This is the problem I am facing currently which needs to be fixed. and I think many of you reading this must be facing the same problem. but also there can be users who don’t face this problem at all. so how to make it work for both kind of users?
So, I decided to solve this problem with the design.
Research and analyze how Instagram users interact with their newsfeed and what problems they are facing. create a redesign concept that improves their experience.
My goals for my own personal development:
Improve product thinking
Get more into product design
Instagram is used by millions of users every day. So, I decided to interview 20 Instagram users to see if anyone else is facing the same problem or some other problem.
Common questions I asked them to know about their Instagram usage (Time spent on Instagram):
For what they use Instagram?
To post photos & To stay connected with friends
To connect with professionals
For work inspiration
To stay up to date with trends.
How often they use Instagram?
How many times do they use Instagram in a single day? (everyday users)
Most of them said around 10 times a day. and few said 5–6 times a day.
How much time do they spend on Instagram every time they open Instagram?
Most of them are spending around 20 mins on Instagram every time they open the app.
From these answers, I got to know about how much time they spending on the app.
After that, I asked them if they are facing any problems or anything they would like to fix. also asked how they would have solved those issues if they got a chance to do.
After evaluating their answers, I listed some pain points they are facing.
Users are missing out some important content
Users are spending an average of 2–3 hours a day on Instagram due to mixed content and they want to reduce it.
Unable to find the post that user forgot to like/save and don’t remember the account
70% users agreed that so much time is spent on scrolling feed to see what they want, which is leading distraction & less productivity.
Common thing shared by few users is that they want to see specific kind of posts at a specific mood/time
Things done by users to overcome these problems
Most of them have not done anything. but 3 users have created separate accounts to follow specific kind of accounts. i.e, one user created a separate account to follow Fashion related accounts.
After gathering all this information. It was time to work on the solution now.
The solution is Instagram Lists, it will allow users to customize their feed and choose what they want to see at a time. I think it can solve almost all the pain points. so how we can implement it in current Instagram flow & design?
The main focus was to make the user choose what they want to see. it may possible that user who is facing the problem want to see all posts and at other time the same user wants to see the specific type of posts. so the choice should at right after opening the app.
I did some basic wireframe on paper before jumping on Interface design.
Without affecting the current look and feel I followed the current design system of Instagram.
To make it easy navigation and creating a list. I decided to add one section on the landing page to create a list. we can do user onboarding and tell users about lists.
Create New List
Users just have to give a list name. only then users can add whatever accounts S/he wants to add in that list. and that’s how users can customize their feed according to their interest base.
Switching between Lists
The easiest way is when users can easily switch between all lists from the landing page. so with the scrollable lists, we can do it easily. selected list will only have posts from the accounts that are added in that particular list.
It’s obvious, users will add/remove accounts from the list anytime. so users can manage their lists from the hamburger menu that appears in user profile.
In Manage lists, If there is no list created yet, user can create one from here. If Lists are already there, user can rename the list, delete the list, add accounts to the list or remove accounts from the list.
Almost all users will certainly forget half of the accounts to add in particular list. Instagram can easily suggest accounts with AI from the list name and the kind of accounts added in list. So I decided to put a section from where users can have suggested accounts to add.
But here users can see suggestions only on manage lists screen. So, whenever user is scrolling feed and sees some account which should be in some list then user should have the option to add account in the list. to make it easier I decided to give that option in more info popup of that post.
Also, while scrolling feed in a particular list, users should have accounts suggestions to add in that list.
I showed this design to those 20 people I interviewed, just to see their reaction. and here are some of their reactions:
1. it would be great if i can do something like this on Instagram.
2. Now I can follow hundreds of fashion accounts without messing up my feed.
3. I won’t miss my friend's posts if this happens. it’s gonna save me for life.
4. Looking for work inspiration will get easier.
5. Eagerly waiting for this Instagram update.
What I learned
When I decided to solve this problem. I thought it’s just me facing the problem. However, as I got into the research phase, I got to know there are many other people are facing this kind of issues.
Solving a problem for the actual user is a completely different thing. I learned a lot throughout the interview process, learned about using an existing design system in solution. I think one of the best things about learning is that you learn what works, and what doesn’t. You learn how to do things faster and better. Using box shadow, gradient and rounded corners are not important when you are solving a problem with the design.
However, Instagram has hundreds of people working on it. There is a reason why certain features cannot be included. But evolution is inevitable. It’s necessary to give features that allow users to create the experience they are looking for. it will be beneficial for users and the company too.
Thank you for taking this time to read.