Instagram Product Head on Product Design (Part 3)

At its core, Instagram’s product design must reflect the needs of our community. Every new feature or enhancement is based on reducing friction that we see through users interacting with our product. For example, the development of Instagram stories is a direct reflection of how posting habits have changed since the platform launched.

Think about your early posts on Instagram. If you compare the quality of your first post to your most recent, they probably look completely different. In other words, users are more mindful of the content that they share for a few reasons. First, there are more users on Instagram now than when you started using the app. As a result, your content is open to more people and there’s more content to influence your posting habits. For example, it’s easy to get inspired by a professional photographer’s content to rethink how you share content.

In addition, content sharing is more mobile than ever before.

For example, people use private group chats to share specific pieces of content. Instead of simply sharing media in one way, we realized that the Instagram audience wanted to share moments in different ways. In other words, not every moment that people share is worthy of a permanent post. This opportunity drove the creation of Instagram stories in order to give users a new way to share content.

Today, we think about Instagram stories as the moments between “highlights” or permanent posts on your profile. In addition, these moments create a unique piece of content that stands alone as an expression by its author. As a result, the product design places the username at the top of your story feed. In addition, the interface for Instagram stories is specifically designed for mobile video with a vertical orientation. Rather than trying to fit more content into a square format, Instagram stories provide a perfect example of adapting to user needs. Most importantly, the platform now supports multiple ways to share content most effectively.

Ultimately, Instagram stories took off like crazy when it launched in August 2016. Over 100 million people used Instagram stories in the first two months. Today, there are 400 million users actively sharing stories every day. In the end, we continue to maintain our core product design philosophy with a clean and consistent feed. However, the introduction of Instagram stories is a perfect example of expanding platform capabilities based on how users engage with your product.


Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

About the speaker
Vishal Shah Instagram, VP of Product Management Member

As Director of Product Management at Instagram, Vishal Shah is responsible for building products that help people discover and connect with their interests on Instagram. He leads consumer, business, and revenue products including Search, Explore, Ads, IGTV, and Shopping. Vishal was most recently named #9 on Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business 2018. Before his role at Instagram, Vishal spent 10 years at Turn, pioneering programmatic advertising and marketing technology in roles across engineering and product. Before Turn, Vishal was with Accenture’s Technology Labs. Vishal holds degrees in Computer Science and Business from the University of California, Berkeley and resides in the Bay Area with his wife Reena and their two young Instagrammers.

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