Last week, Instagram accidentally released an updated redesign that temporarily changed the main feed from a vertical feed to a horizontal scrollable one, per Mashable. The test was meant to roll out to a small subset of users, but was released to a larger number of users than Instagram anticipated.
Users who saw the redesigned feed were mostly turned off, and took to Twitter to complain about it, prompting Instagram to address the release, which it blamed on a bug. Affected accounts are back to the old, vertical scroll feed, but the accident does raise questions about the future of Instagram’s user interface, and suggests a horizontal feed could be in the works.
Here’s why Instagram could eventually decide to go forward with a horizontal feed:
- A horizontal feed is a more consistent format with Stories, which will soon represent a majority of sharing on social media, per Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg has stated on several occasions that Stories will overtake News Feed as the main way users share and consume content on Facebook sometime in mid-2019. So it makes sense that the company would want to adapt its user interface on Instagram (and core Facebook interface) to more closely resemble Stories (i.e. making them tappable and nearly full-screen). The horizontal redesign also makes Stories more visible because a user won’t have to scroll up to the top of their feed to find the profile marquee of other users‘ Stories.
- Brand messaging would be more visible in a horizontal feed. A horizontal feed would fundamentally change what the eye focuses on when tapping to proceed from post to post. In a vertical feed, a user sees the next profile’s account name before they see that users‘ content. That means users can easily decide to scroll right past an upcoming post if they think its something they’d be uninterested in — like a “Sponsored” post, or content from a friend who posts too frequently. But in a horizontal feed, users can’t easily see what’s coming next, so they’ll have to take an extra second or so to look at the content to decide if they want to like or comment before tapping to the next post. Those few extra seconds users will have to spend with content could help improve brand visibility and increase awareness, even if the user ultimately decides to tap past Sponsored content.
Instagram should be careful about drastically changing its interface as we’ve seen this could lead to user boycotts, like Snapchat’s redesign fiasco. However, a comparison of Instagram’s update to Snapchat’s redesign isn’t entirely apple-to-apples — Snap drastically reconfigured how users share and consume content throughout its app.
But, as far as we know, Instagram intends to only redesign the feed into a horizontal scroll. Profile pages and the Explore tab will be unchanged in the familiar vertical scrolling grid.
Source: Business insider