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UX design concept: splitting the Instagram feed into groups

Many Instagram users follow accounts of different types. Here and friends, and celebrities, and accounts “on interests”: food, sports, and so on. What to do if you log in to the app and don’t want to see the entire feed in a row? If you only want to see photos of your relatives? Or just memes to take a break from these very photos? Or just want inspiration for your next big trip?

Instagram offers ways to tailor the user experience. Here you can enable notifications for a specific account or subscribe to a hashtag. But I found that most users don’t use these features.

A study of users
I interviewed 25 College students about how they use Instagram, and here’s what I found:

Users feel that they are missing some publications;
Users sometimes have a special mood about what they want to see in their feed;
Users are interested in setting up their channel.
To create a more” controlled ” feed, one user went so far as to create a separate profile where they subscribed only to fashion accounts. This ensured that he would not miss a single publication.

What if users had the ability to create different news feeds based on their interests?

With all these ideas in mind, I started brainstorming with my friends Noah Heeson and Allan Wong, who were beginning engineers.

After the brainstorming session, we asked the question: “How can we implement a section that contains specific user interests?”There are two options.

Option 1. To create a section of the community.

Each community is defined by a topic. Posts in the community are related and relevant to the topic.
Issues: how will communities be regulated? How easy is it to integrate this feature? Does this change the purpose of Instagram?
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Option 2. Allow users to create multiple feeds.

Users can assign the profiles they follow to different groups. Instead of seeing all posts in their feed, they can see posts from a specific group.
Problems: how can you switch between feeds? How can you simply classify accounts that you subscribe to?
I decided to use Option 2 to rework features that the user is already familiar with, instead of trying to create a new community feature. From there I started sketching.

The implementation of the function
Creating a group: how do users group the accounts they follow?

Adding an account to a group: how can a user quickly add an account to a group?

Switching between groups: how do we allow users to switch between different groups that they have created?

After testing the prototypes on 10 users, I found out the following:

Group creation
Since this feature is very similar to having multiple accounts, I looked at how Instagram asks the user to log in to an additional account. From this, I realized that this feature is different in the sense that the user needs to do 2 completely different things: give the group a name and add the accounts they follow.

In the first iteration, I asked users to create a group using 2 different screens. The first screen was used for the group title and the second screen for adding accounts to the group. During user testing, I noticed that most users were confused that the process takes place on 2 screens. Some users wanted to select accounts before the group name.

I decided to place both steps on the same screen. To ensure that all steps have been completed (in any order the user wishes), the user cannot click the “Create group” button until both steps are completed.

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Adding an account to a group
When creating a group, it is very possible that the user will forget to include some accounts in it. If a user comes across a new post that needs to be added to the group, I want to give that user the option to do so without actually going to the account profile.

The ellipsis button contains many actions. Why not add another one?

Since the proposed feature is not the main one in Instagram, I decided not to select it as a separate icon. I added this function to the ellipsis button, in the list of additional functions already available.

Switching between groups
At first I thought about swiping left or right, but these movements are already busy: the first leads to the camera, the second leads to messages. If the action is connected to the tape, then the movement must be connected in some way. I came up with two options.

Option 1-drop-down list. Next to the Instagram logo, there will be a down arrow indicating a hidden menu.

Option 2-long press the menu. Similar to switching between multiple accounts, long-pressing the home icon will also show the groups menu.

Both functions will be available to the user.

Instagram can be a waste of time: you spend hours flipping through the feed, looking at posts from accounts that you follow. I think Instagram does a great job of keeping me up to date with posts from my friends and family. But it doesn’t work with my interests.

I think the ability to have multiple feeds in the form of self-made groups gives the user more control. This adapted experience allows users to view what they want and when they want.

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