3 Reasons Why Instagram has Amazing UX
Instagram is the most popular social media app in the world and specializes in sharing photos and videos. With over 1 billion active users per month (a whopping 14.3% of the world population), Instagram is here to stay. There are many factors to their success but a large part of it is due to their excellent user experience (UX).
Facebook has done an excellent job of improving and building upon Instagram’s UX after acquiring the company in 2012. We picked up on a few UX principles that Instagram utilized almost perfectly: simplicity in call to actions, strategic use of whitespace, and personalization of user content.
Simple Call to Actions
From the first look, Instagram’s interface is clean and straightforward — there is very little room for confusion. The call to actions are mainly represented by a simple footer with 5 buttons (for “Home”, “Explore”, “Add New Post”, “Notifications”, and “My Profile”, respectively). Each button is represented by universally recognized icons with no need for captions.
Even if we put aside Instagram’s massive reputation, once a user knows that the app is used to share photos and videos, the call to actions make that process seamless. For example, you just took an amazing photo you want to share with your friends. You see the plus symbol (“Add New Post”) and when you click it, it opens your options to add from your device’s photo gallery, take a photo, or record a video. The process takes a total of 4 steps: opening the app, deciding which content to upload, editing the photo or video, and adding a caption and tags.
Some of the other tabs, like the Settings tab have more options but the main bread-and-butter task of sharing photos is short and sweet. The most important priority of any product is solving users’ problems — simplifying users’ experience from opening your product to finishing the task they set out to to do. Instagram’s call to actions are almost perfectly simple.
Strategic Use of Whitespace
As an app designed for visual content and posting personal photos or videos, it wouldn’t make sense for Instagram to be too cluttered, personalized, or colorful. Instagram applied this to a tee — if you block out your own photos and the content shown in your feed, the app itself looks like a blank page with only 6–7 buttons shown at a time.
Without any content, there seems to be too much room, like the app is a blank skeleton. Once filled with your own or your friends’ content, the app looks more natural and visually appealing. The whitespace (or black-space if you have “dark” mode enabled) itself is a call to action and incentivizes users to start uploading immediately.
Perhaps that’s why the platform grew so quickly? Design isn’t just aesthetic — it drives user behavior. Instagram’s whitespace definitely contributes to the app’s success.
Personalization of User Content
Instagram uses machine learning algorithms, which do a fantastic job of recommending content based on users’ searches and social engagements. When users clicks on the “Explore” tab (represented by a magnifying glass symbol), they can see content specifically tailored for them, and only for them.
The balance between standardization and customizability in digital products is always hard to find. Do you remember Myspace? Many of us don’t. Myspace was one of the largest social media platforms in the early to mid 2000s before Facebook completely dominated the market. One of the primary differences between Myspace and Facebook was the users’ ability to personalize their profiles with themes, colors, music, and even custom HTML.
There were simply too many options available and Facebook’s contrastingly standardized format made the social media experience easier for users. Instagram follows Facebook’s success by standardizing its interface but giving users the custom tailored feel through the personalization of recommended content. The tailoring of user-generated content itself contributes to the feeling of a personalized experience without complicating users’ experience or the platforms call to actions.
Call to Action
Inspiration can come from anywhere, and imitation is the best form of flattery. Instagram is especially worth looking at for any digital product idea. It’s important to be original but studying other apps like Instagram will help your team design your product so your users or customers have a pleasant experience.
At Almega Digital, we draw inspiration from other apps or websites but always add our own touches that match your specific requirements. Schedule your free consultation today to see some of our work and to check out an agency for all your digital product needs.
Visit almegadigital.com to find out more!