The Future of Instagram

By Tahira Resalat

Solo Project | 6 weeks

UI UX

UI/UX Design

User Research

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Data Analysis

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Visual Design

Survey Design

Branding

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Storyboarding

The future of Instagram relies the acute understanding of Gen Z, their social media behaviours and their dependency on infographics culture.

 

Instagram has greatly evolved from being more than just a photo sharing app. They have over 1 billion users and a large proportion of its current and future users are Gen Z users. A Recent McKinsey report referred to Gen Z as the ‘hyper cognitive generation in search for the ‘truth’’. The rise of infographics can therefore partially be credited to them, and while it may be argued that they are oversimplified, they are also a great tool to act as a stepping stone for this younger generation to find out more about current affairs. Instagram therefore needs to cater the platform to Gen Z’s interests, behaviours and demands.

Content Creators

How might we improve the user experience of consuming credible educational content through infographics?

Content Consumers

How might we improve the credibility of content so creators take their time to think about what they are posting?

 

Initial Research

An initial survey was done with 50 Gen Z participants in order to understand the following:

  • Do you ever go and research further about something you read in an infographic on Instagram?

  • What makes you want to interact with/share an informative post to your Instagram stories?

  • How do you assess the credibility of what you share? (i.e. reading relevant books)

  • Is there any fact checking you do before you share information?

  • Would you prefer a different means of sharing factual infographics? Or do you prefer for it to be part of your Instagram experience?

  • Do you prefer illustrated infographics or text based infographics?

  • Are you satisfied with the immediacy at which infographics on current affairs are made available on Instagram?

The research concluded that there are 3 main reasons why Instagram users share content. Primarily, it is for themselves, especially if it is something they can relate to or identify with. Secondly, and most frequently, it is for others. Users use the sharing function on Instagram to spread awareness and educate others on topics they may lack the confidence to discuss in person. Finally, it is due to the effectiveness of the post. If the post is designed clearly with credible references or it is easily readable, users are highly likely to share the content.  

The responses from the survey also found that 85% of participants were not in favour of having a separate platform to consume their infographic content from. This was an incredibly valuable insight as it explained that changes needed to be made internally on the Instagram app in order to address the issues of information credibility. Paired with the information that the majority of users were also willing to wait longer if it meant the information consumed would be more reliable therefore placed this project at a very interesting design crossroad. 

 

Behavioural Study

People’s ability to recall information reduces the longer they spend scrolling through Instagram due to distractions.

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People’s ability to recall information plateaus. This behaviour has been attributed to distractions, exhaustion and general disconnection from the information. Instagram users are constantly bombarded by several types of content, in multiple formats, about numerous topics. This makes it incredibly difficult to recall most of the things they come across. This was proven following a behavioural study with 50 participants who scrolled through a fake Instagram feed and noted down what posts they could recall. 

Participants were shown an Instagram feed of 39 posts. 10 of these were infographics about various topics. They were asked to record their screen while they scrolled through the feed, and fill out a brief survey following this. The time it took them to scroll through all 39 posts was then compared against which posts they could remember. 

Following the experiment, participants were asked the following questions:

  • How similar was the Instagram feed you've just scrolled through to your regular feed?

  • Were you content with the frequency of infographics in the Instagram feed you scrolled through?

  • How much of the information you came across in the infographics was new to you?

  • Without looking back at the Instagram feed, can you briefly list the topics/description of any of the infographics you remember reading?

  • Is there any fact checking you do before you share information?

    Were there any particular posts that made you want to research further into the topic/share it with a friend?

  • Can you describe the difference between what you consider to be breaking news and news/information you would wait to learn about? (Please include examples if you can!)

  • How long would you be willing to wait to receive breaking news?

  • How long would you be willing to wait to receive non-urgent news?

 

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