An Instagram Suggestion Box: What Would You Add?

An Instagram Suggestion Box: What Would You Add?

Instagram has continued to transcend the way we share our work, our brand, and lives through our mobile devices. It's safe to say that it has taken over Facebook as the preferred mainstream social media platform to share our work. Fellow Writer Ryan Cooper recently put a great article together about features that could use overhauls and improvements. I decided to add some issues that I've run into time and time again and put together an Instagram suggestion box for the Fstoppers community. 

1. The Notifications Need An Overhaul!

Ryan's article touched on this, so I will be brief: the notifications need an overhaul! It makes it very difficult to interact with your following when you have to squint to search for those two comments amongst all of your photo's likes. Additionally, while I understand why they limit the amount of notifications, it becomes a pain when comments and mentions become lost because likes bog them down.

Solution

I believe everyone will agree on this one: a solution would be a more organized structure that separates likes, comments, mentions, etc. as they come in. 

2. The Squares Are Cutting off My Portraits! 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCx8PScvtTf/?taken-by=nicks_pixels

While I love that Instagram updated last year by adding the ability to post portrait and landscape images, there is a hang up that I just can't get over. Let say I have a portrait that has vertical dimensions, and my subject's face is towards the top end of the portrait. There's a good chance my subject will be cut off as shown below. 

Photographers on Instagram likely know what I am referring to and may have run into this issue. I can see this being a problem as well for landscape photographers. I have adapted to this by adjusting the photo to where my subject's head won't be cut off; I believe it looks better when my gallery is displayed with heads intact

Solution

I believe a simple solution would be giving users an option to select a thumbnail during the posting process, similar to when you may select a thumbnail when posting a video on Instagram. This would deliver a much cleaner look on everyone's galleries and benefit users greatly. 

3. Better Video Quality

https://www.instagram.com/p/BC5tkmzvtVf/?taken-by=nicks_pixels

In 2016, I decided to make a great effort to add a behind-the-scenes perspective to my sessions. While I believe the behind-the-scenes videos have been a success, there seems to be a lack a quality in my GoPro footage on Instagram. While I made an effort to find a solution by trying different export settings, Instagram seems to compress my footage significantly when posted. 

Solution

While I understand the reasoning behind the compressed footage, camera quality and resolution improvements are not slowing down and Instagram must adapt. While they did with photos last year, video quality is something they will eventually need to address.

4. Do Not Curate Feeds! (Updated)

News just came in today that Instagram will follow Facebook's footsteps. The ordering of your feed will be "based on the likelihood you'll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post... all the posts will still be there, just in a different order." Instagram promises that they're "going to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way." 

This is why we prefer Instagram, displaying content in chronological order and seeing everything! No filtered content! I could see this alienate daily Instagram users and make a strong case for Snapchat with its increasing popularity.

5. Your Suggestions!

What improvements and features would you like to see added or fixed on Instagram? It has become an essential marketing tool for all photographers; getting the most out of the app is paramount. Share your thoughts!

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46 Comments

1. Proper ReGramming, like ReTweeting. I know that would flood peoples timelines, so maybe make it only doable once per 24 hours. That way you're only ReGramming what you consider the best of the best. Also makes discoverability better.

2. Be able to tell if someone follows you back, the same way Twitter does, simple.

3. For video they display Plays now, which is nice. However there's still room below the video to show likes so not sure why they don't show both plays & likes. I know I can click on the details of the video to see the likes but that's an extra step.

4. Swipe to block would be nice, rather than the 4 taps it takes now. Too many spammy robots on Instagram.

5. Account notifications. In Twitter I can turn this on for a specific user, whether I follow them or not, and then get notified if they Tweet. Makes it easy to engage with your favourite brands/people.

6. For video music is automatically muted. When I tap to turn it on it does so a full volume, which can be jarring. So, have the volume fade up instead.

I don’t use Instagram too often so if I some of these features already exist in some sense please excuse my ignorance ;)

Levi Arnold's picture

There are already account notifications. Just go to the user and click the three little dots. It's okay I just figured it out recently too lol

Ah, looks like some users cannot be followed, or don't have three dots at all! That's why I wasn't seeing it.

Daniel Haußmann's picture

#2 is important for me, too. Sometimes I don't post non-square images anymore, because I cannot control which part it will use as thumbnail. If the image is great, but the thumbnail not, it will shed a bad light on your work. For me thats a big one.

Jeff McCollough's picture

As some of you might not know, you have the option to turn on or off the different push notifications. For example if you don't want to be alerted about every new like but only followers and comments you can set that option.

I really don't like that you can see what other people like. It would be better that instead of it showing every pic that one of the people you follow likes, there would just be a page that shows photos that are being liked by the people you follow. Of course you could go to a photo and see who likes it but not an in your face update about their activity.

Will Gavillan's picture

It would be nice to have working urls in the posts. As it stands now, a follower can't click on links in your posts

Jason Lorette's picture

I'm not a fan of the 'facebook effect' that has creeped in to Instagram, in the sense that my feed is being filtered to show the people I follow that I've recently liked something of theirs. I'm missing a lot of stuff I'd otherwise like to see from people I'm following. "Didn't you see me post that on Instagram?"....umm nope.

steve carrillo's picture

I was never a fan of the time stamp format. but they recently changed it to actually show when it was posted instead of something like "3 weeks ago"

maybe uploading via website?

user-82304's picture

I second "upload via website". Posting from the phone adds too many steps to the workflow. I know Instagram started as a way to share snapshots from a phone, but it has changed to become a very popular place to share even professional work. Twitter started as a way to let your friends know, via SMS, what bar you were at during SXSW so Instagram can certainly change, too.

Zyaire Porter's picture

CLICKABLE LINKS!!!

Anonymous's picture

Please no. Just makes spam marketers that much worse.

Zyaire Porter's picture

Spammers are horrible already, a clickable link won't stop them

Zyaire Porter's picture

A Masonry style grid to Instagram pages so photos aren't cropped to squares

Marine Deville's picture

Not sure about this. I mean I've thought about this before but I feel like the square grid is also what "makes" Instagram, Instagram. Maybe this is because I've had the app since the beginning and don't want to see it changing to something completely different (though it has changed a lot already)

An iPad app!!! Also, here is one thing not to change: let us keep seeing every post by people we follow. It is crazy that Facebook limits what you see.

user-82304's picture

Ugh :( I spend half my time on Facebook resetting the feed to "Newest First".

Wow, within hours of posting my request to keep a clean feed, an algorithm is announced! Booooo!!!!!!! So, another request...how about the OPTION to keep a chronological feed!

Akeem Casey's picture

A Favorites list like twitter. It hard to remember page names of people/brands you like or may want to reach out to at a later time

Anonymous's picture

Turn on Post Notifications. It was added maybe two months ago.

Akeem Casey's picture

that helps you when they post but for example if i follow a model i may want to work with ned time I'm in texas, i can create a list on twitter called Texas models.

Anonymous's picture

Only thing I'd really like to see is better tagging.:

1. Intelligent tagging so obviously similar ones get adjoined: #Photo vs #Photos, #NewYork #NewYorkCity #NYC etc...

2. Either get rid of "Recent Tag" or still show the number of posts in it.

I could think of more but honestly the beauty is in the simplicity of use. These are the only ones I'd think to really implement.

Dallas Bland's picture

I would Loooove it if I could have multiple accounts with the same email address and be able to switch between them without having to log out - log in.

They recently added support for multiple accounts. Does that not work for you?

Simon Patterson's picture

I suspect that with curated feeds like FB, the rest is moot...

Willie Brown's picture

1. Do NOT follow through with the curated feeds.

2. Being able to Repost withing having a separate app.

That's really all i got right now. Other than that, Instagram WAS the superior social media format for us photographers. But now that they're about to make this more like facebook, they're pretty much just gonna kill the app. :'(

Jon Barrett's picture

I'd like to easily be able to see who unfollowed you as easily as who followed you. I hate the follow/unfollow game that many IGers play. I know there are 3rd party apps to do this, but I think if IG did it internally, it may stop some from upping their followers inorganically like that.

Not happy about the new curated feed. Would, however, like to see them do something like flickr, where a user can limit the number of photos from specific people to 5 or 1. Would also or alternately like to be able to hide feeds so I can just see the people I want in my feed but have a record of the people whose feeds I want/need to check out from time to time (i.e. the people who overpost, the friends you feel you have to follow even if you don't like what they post, etc.).

Quinn Ballard's picture

This is def a crazy idea, but I have spent a lot of time wondering what would happen if there was the option for you (the user) to be able to hide seeing how many followers someone ELSE has. For me, one of the biggest downsides of Insta/other social apps is how quickly it allows people to make quick judgements about how cool or great or follow-worthy someone else is. There's def social proof in seeing the # of someone's followers, and big numbers aren't a bad thing, but it can also be a huge downside.

I wonder what would happen if Insta would let users be able to look at pictures even more objectively (as in, "Do I actually like this?") instead of the immediate reflex most of us have of looking at how many thousands of followers someone has in order to help gauge how awesome their account is.

I wrote about it more a couple months ago, and seeing this post about Insta suggestion box made me think it was worth sharing. Here it is – https://medium.com/@quinnballard/the-awful-idea-that-could-change-instag...

We all deal with comparison and it's really hard for most of us to avoid...who knows – maybe Insta would roll out this feature. It would be cool to see what might happen and how we could make and enjoy art with more freedom and less "I'm not good enoughs."

And here's a visual for what I mean:

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