By Elaine (Yi Hui) Aw
Product Improvement Ideas:
➤ Instagram provides a simple way to capture
and share the worlds’ moments.
➤ Launched in 2010, acquired by Facebook in
2012, 700 million users as of April 2017.
➤ Users’ motives: Social interaction, archiving,
self-expression, escapism and peeking.
➤ Logo change in May 2016: “We've been inspired
by all the ways the community has grown and
changed, and we wanted to create something
that reﬂects how vibrant and diverse
storytelling on Instagram has become”
Brown: Organic, Simple Yellow: Optimism, Warmth
Orange: Friendly, Cheerful, Confidence
Red: Excitement, Youthful, Bold
Purple: Creative, Imaginative
Large number of global users (700 million
monthly active users on April 2017).
Enables people and brands to express
themselves through enhanced visuals.
Connected to other social media platforms, and
has a strong parent company (Facebook).
Attractive to younger audiences.
High engagement levels.
Privacy concerns on diﬀerent kinds of photos
for diﬀerent followers.
Advertisements is the only way for Instagram
to monetise, and irrelevant advertisements
High dependancy on having a great sorting
algorithm to sort news feeds in a way that
Increase in mobile usage by users from all
over the world.
More ways of sharing moments (i.e. Videos,
short-lived moments, chats).
Machine learning allows the application to
learn users’ behaviours and customise it
more to their liking.
Competitor social media platforms (i.e.
SnapChat or Twitter) compete for users’
Currently, Facebook responded to threats by
making attractive features also available on
Instagram (e.g. Live Videos and Face
Filters ). This attracts usage, but at the same
time risks diluting Instagram’s brand.
Work: Student (Undergraduate)
Location: Palo Alto, California
Archetype: The Creator
To view lovely images from people or brands that she
To attain more followers by capturing and sharing
attractive moments with her followers.
Sarah is an undergraduate who has an eye for beauty. She
loves to view lovely images on social media, and to share
snippets of her daily life on the platform. It is common for
her friends to wait for her to snap a photo of her food for
her to post on her account before they start eating.
She becomes a little sad when her photos/videos does
not have much likes.
She is worried about missing out on her favorite
She is busy with school work and likes simplicity, so she
does not like mobile applications that are too complicated
Think and Feel?
Say and Do?
“I want to capture and share a moment.”
“This travel photo is so beautiful!”
Double tap to “like” the photo.
“I feel accomplished and acknowledged when
my followers comment and like my photos.”
“Your photos/videos are gorgeous!”
“I enjoy having more followers.”
Take high quality photos that are worth sharing.
Build a brand that has an increasing number of followers.
Our persona’s primary interest is to view moments, and to
capture and share attractive moments with her followers.
Have an easy way to view photos of interest.
“I wonder if my followers will like this photo.”
OPPORTUNITY 1: IMAGE FILTERS
➤ Our persona loves Instagram because of the
available ﬁlters and simple edit options that
can easily transform her photos to look great.
➤ She would ﬁrst take photos, choose an
appropriate ﬁlter, adjust the lighting if
required, then share it.
➤ Many times, if she wants to post a photo on
Facebook, she prefers to do it through
Instagram because her photos tend to look
better if they originate from Instagram.
➤ In a recent update, Instagram now allows her
to manage her favorite ﬁlters by selecting and
ordering them to appear a way that she likes.
This however, is a try-and-error method
unless she remembers the ﬁlter names.
➤ The ability to create attractive photos with ﬁlters is a
well-liked feature that can be enhanced.
➤ With 700 million monthly active users, it gives
opportunity for machine learning to create new ﬁlters:
➤ Based on image recognition, determine the category
of photos (i.e. landscape, indoor food, portrait), and
ﬁgure the type of ﬁlter that is commonly used. Create
personalised ﬁlters based on past user preferences.
➤ Learn the artistic characteristics from works of
famous artists to apply on existing photos. In the
example on the right, a normal image of a boat,
overlaid with the image of “The Scream” by Picasso,
results in a unique photo ﬁlter style.
➤ Such creativity can be introduced to the platform as new
ﬁlters to be shown in reserved spots at the ﬁlter page.
UX Improvement: Machine Learning + Filters
OPPORTUNITY 1: IMAGE FILTERS + MACHINE LEARNING
OPPORTUNITY 2: DISCOVERY
➤ The “Explore” tab at Instagram currently showcases
possible videos and images that a user may like.
➤ However, the displayed video and images may not be
a good ﬁt to their interests. For example, our
persona wonders why “Science Experiments” is
picked for her when she is more interested in
fashion and food photos. Next, assuming somehow
that category is on science experiments, the photos
after that does not seem related; it is confusing.
➤ The search feature is more intuitive and relevant, it
allows the user to see related accounts at the “Top”
category. Our user can also easily search for people,
hashtags and places accordingly.
Current: Discover New Content
➤ Hashtags has always been one of Instagram’s strengths. This is
because many users like placing creative #hashtags that are related to
the photo context. There are even business spin-oﬀs that print instant
photos based on event-based hashtags (link).
➤ One way hashtags can be leveraged, is to integrate it with the
“Discovery Page” to enable users to understand why certain photos are
➤ In addition, I am wondering if displaying stats like user accounts and
number of likes would encourage engagement because on one hand it
explains why a photo is there, on another, it dilutes a user’s reason to
click on a photo that he/she really likes. A usability test could be
performed to ﬁgure the impact. I have designed the prototype with
inspiration from YouTube.
➤ Also, it is worth exploring the possibility of following a hashtag.
Instead of having a direct message (it is easy to type a hashtag to a
friend), a follow feature would value-add more at the “Discovery Page”
to increase the possibilities of enabling a user to ﬁnd new users or
brand accounts with similar interests that they may like to follow. To
bring it a step further, related tags could also be built in the algorithm.
UX Improvement: What’s Trending? #hashtag
#dailyactivity - 1,228 Posts
1,020 likes - 2 days ago
OPPORTUNITY 2: DISCOVERY - WHAT’S TRENDING?
320 likes - 3 hours ago
250 likes - 1 day ago
➤ Every user account is the heart of Instagram as this is the place
where people and companies build their brands. Currently,
accounts are personalised in the proﬁle picture and description
section. Posts are arranged chronologically based on the posting
➤ This works well usually, but becomes restrictive if a user wants to
organise his/her photo. The order the photos in the grids are rigid
because there is no way to edit the posting date; it is only
possible to edit the caption and location of any post. Personally, I
will end up deleting a photo and reposting to reorganise, or to
bear with it if the photo already has likes and comments.
➤ Another interesting way a user can opt to showcase creativity at
the user account page is to enlarge an existing photo, posting
them to arrange in a 3x3 grid, similar to the image on the right.
Currently, the only way to maintain the 3x3 grid without messing
up the larger image is to post subsequent images in sets of 3.
Current: User Account
OPPORTUNITY 3: USER ACCOUNT
➤ The simplest ﬁx to the organization problem is
to enable the editing of posting dates as shown
on the right. After that, the order of the images
at the user proﬁles will be based on the edited
➤ In order not to confuse the news feed, the back-
end database could store two date ﬁelds: posted
date (to display image at the news feed) and
edited date (to control how images appear at a
users’ account page).
➤ For a more sophisticated solution on top of the
posting date, enable featured photos to appear at
the top of account. If the user selects photos, it
will appear at the top. If the user does not, the
proﬁle will remain the way it currently looks.
UX Improvement: Photo Organization
OPPORTUNITY 3: USER ACCOUNT ORGANIZATION
Update this section to display your top photos.
Edit Featured Photos
Choose up to 3 photos you’d like to feature
Adopted feature from Facebook.
Sorted by: Date
Updated User Profile
Enable edits to posting date