Work    About    Contact    CV  

Instagram Feed Redesign

Allowing users to organize feeds tailored to their interests and motivations

About the Project

My Role 
User Research, Product Design, UX/UI Design

Project Type
Individual Project

Duration 1 week, Summer 2020

The Problem—Instagram’s current ‘feed’ design does not allow for the filtering and organization needed by their users. 

My solution—a new Instagram feature that allows users to create and organize personalized ‘feeds’ that match their different interests and motives. Users can group the accounts they follow into different feeds tailored to the type of content they want to view.

Skip to see the final designs→

My Process

⓵ Discovery

The Problem
Instagram serves so many users, each with a wide variety of interests and motives. Unfortunately, Instagram’s current feed design is unable to meet the needs of individual users. While some users may want to view memes in their feed, others might want to see pictures of family and friends. But what if a user wants to see memes sometimes and pictures of family othertimes? Instagram’s current feed design does not allow for the filtering or organization of content need to meet the needs of their multi-faceted users.
Skip ahead to see my solution ︎︎︎

Instgram is constantly releasing new features and updates. One particular feature faces significant backlash when it is updated: the algorithm. Many users have complained about updates to the originally time-based algorithm because it ‘hides the content they want to see.’  An article from 2016 and another from 2018 report on users’ reactions to the different updates to Instagram’s algorithm and feeds.

To fully understand why users were frustrated about not seeing certain content as easily in their feed, I did research into figuring out why people use instagram in the first place? What are users’ motives and desires that drive them to scroll through their social media feeds?

Why do people use instagram?
Source:  Statista Survey

Key Research Findings
The set-up of Instgram’s current feed is a pain point of many users. After gaining an understanding of users’ interests and motivations in using Instgram, I was able to pinpoint the problem more clearly: a single user can have many different reasons and motivations to scroll through Instagram. While one interest or motivation may be of a high priority than another, the user does not want to neglect their other interest in favor of the high-priority one. For example, 46% of users go on Instagram to see posts from their family and friends; but scrolling through Instagram ‘to be entertained’ was the motivation of 44% of users. Other reasons, such as ‘to be inspired’, was a motivation of 30% of users! If a person uses instagram to see pictures of family and friends a large percentage of the time, they will face difficulties finding desired content on their feed if they, at a different time, want to scroll through their feed to see recipe posts.

If the users could curate separate feeds to match their different motivations and interests, they would be able to see the kind of content they want from moment to moment without worrying about valuable content being hidden.

⓶ Design

My Solution
While Instagram’s current feed feature falls short of allowing users the customization they need, I propose a new design that allows users to curate, organize, and label their own feeds so they can select the content they really want view from one moment to the next. As Kat Holmes, Microsoft’s Director of Inclusive Design, teaches, it is so important to design with a ‘one-size-fits-one’ mindset. With around 1 billion people using Instagram each month, it can seem daunting to create a one-size-fits-one ‘feed’ design tailored to each user. So why not allow the users to create custom feeds for themselves?

With this new feature, users are able to group accounts they follow into seperate “feeds” and can later select which feed they want to view. For example, while a default feed shows the content posted by every account the user follows, a feed titled ‘fitness’ could soley show content posted by fitness blogger accounts the has user selected. It allows users to create multiple ‘focused feeds’ tailor to their individual motives and interests.

Outlining User Flow

3 Design Options
After outlining the goals and desired experience for the feaure, I designed multiple options for the feature’s interface. The top three options were then analyzed and tested with users to assess their usability and desirability.

User Testing
I conducted more research to see which design users prefered. After asking prelimiary questions to understand how familiar my participants were with using Instgram, I then explain the new feature and asking the participants to share their opinions on the different options.

Design Idea #1

Features a rounded rectangular button with the word ‘feed’ and a downwards arrow

User Testing Results
Pros easy to understand, clear communication

Cons bulky, distracting from other interface feaures, off-brand from instgrams typically sleek and subtle approach

Design Idea #2

Features a small downwards pointing character placed next to the ‘Instagram’ logo 

User Testing Results
Pros on-brand with Instagram’s other UI elements, matches the style of the account selector feature on user’s profile page, doesn’t distract user from rest of UI

Cons too subtle, could easily be overlooked, could get confused with the account selector feature

Design Idea #3

Features a small circular bubble with a downwards pointing arrow, placed next to the camera icon in the upper left corner

User Testing Results
Pros subtle, on-brand with Instagram’s other UI elements

Cons Users might not know what the icon means at first

Testing Results & Choosing a Design
After anazlying the reach and different options, I ended up choosing design option #3.  It is subtle enough to match Instagram’s current UI, yet distinct enough to pique a user’s attention and communicate the new feature’s capabilities.

I used Sketch software to make wireframes of what the process of labeling, curating, and viewing different feeds might look like. 

⓷ Synthesis

More coming soon! Project still in progress (:

‘Family and Friends’ Feed

‘Resources’ Feed

'Resources' feed
‘Beauty Inspo’ Feed

'Beauty' feed
‘Fitness’ Feed

Customizing a ‘Fitness’ Feed

Walking through the process of adding accounts to a custom feed:

Where do we go from here?

More User Testing!
While I was able to interview and recieve feedback on the new feature froma small sample participants, more testing, specifically usability testing, on a larger sample size would be beneficial to expose and explore any potential pitfalls and painpoints of the feautre.

How do we teach users what the new feature is/does? A brief tutorial pop-up (similar to when a person used the ‘close friends’ feature for the first time) to acknowledge and explain the new feature.

Exploring Additional Opprotunities
How might I expand on the idea of customizable feeds? Would users’ ‘explore’ pages begin to suggest accounts for particular feeds the user has created? Would influencers and businesses be able to access the data of the key words and phrases used to label the feeds in which their accounts exist? Could the ‘custom feed filter’ enhance the way instagram is able to suggest content and ads to users?

You made it to the end of the project 😆
I would love your feedback and thoughts! If you have questions, comments, or feedback for this project, please don’t hesitate to send me an email.

Let’s connect!

︎    ︎    ︎    ︎