Let’s imagine you want to start an educational blog on Instagram. Which is makes sense because there are a lot of potential readers in the app. Or you’re about to start/promote your business there. This is a great idea as well. The platform seems to have everything you may need: stories/photo/video advertisement, well-working targeting, insight reports. Everything. Except for great or at least average writing experience.
“Ok” you can say “Instagram is a platform for sharing pictures”. Yes, it was. But now more and more people using Instagram to develop a personal brand, promote businesses and sell courses, books, etc. Texts for them is a clear and simple way to tell the story.
Write something if you can
Let’s imagine you’re one of them. You’ve decided to publish interesting and thoughtful content to engage your readers. So you picked up the amazing photo, did some filter magic, went to the next step and saw this.
Seriously? Is this 25% of the display all we deserved? It’s pretty hard to write something meaningful whilst the text disappears giving the place to new words.
Ok, but you’re more persistent so you managed to write the quite big text and not to freak out. By the way, you have no idea how many symbols more you’re allowed to type. Instagram has a limit but doesn’t indicate how far you’re are from the last symbol.
Then you decided to correct the text and tried to scroll it a little bit. To do that you had to put a thumb on this small piece of display and then slip within 2–3cm. And if you need to scroll it up, you’re lucky because, basically, you can move the finger down outside this tiny field. Otherwise, well, you will have to do a lot of short slides up. And honestly, it’s a horrible experience. People with small fingers are a bit luckier from this point of view.
Probably you also would like to format the text to make it easier to digest. There is bad news: it’s almost impossible. To structure a text, people use emoji, non-break spaces copied from the somewhere on the Internet or third-party apps because Instagram itself doesn’t have any tools for making texts more readable. Yes, you can click “Return” but there is no guarantee it will work the way you expect.
And finally, you definitely will need to preview the text to make sure all is good. But how to do that? Well, you can stretch the text field and press to keep it extended, but you probably won’t see all the text anyway.
So Instagram, why do you neglect these things?
Maybe it’s a legacy of old “Take a picture and share it” model. Maybe Facebook doesn’t want to develop the text blogging. Nevertheless, I believe that if people use the application another way they supposed to then it’s a chance to grow. Now, these flaws are used by third-party apps that provide users with more flexibility and better experience. Which is definitely a lost opportunity for Instagram.
Four things I’m dreaming of
Some very simple features could significantly improve user experience and attract more influencers.
- Expandable text field. The easiest thing to do is to extend the text field. There is a lot of unused space in the middle of the display.
2. Symbols counter. To give users an understanding of how many symbols they have to spare.
3. Clear formatting. Yes, I want to know how to start a new paragraph without inventing the wheel!
4. Post review. Not every blogger can write coherent text straight away. So it definitely would be great to see the whole text and check how readable it is.
Why Instagram would do that
These improvements can be extremely helpful for the product itself.
- More value for users/higher engagement. Unique content is one of the most important things for social networks because it gets users hooked and hungry for more content. Once I spent 30 minutes reading about liver on Instagram. The point is I don’t care about the liver, mine is pretty ok! But it was written so interesting, I couldn’t stop reading.
- Less effort to write post = more posts. I assume that one of the most important metrics for Instagram is the number of posts. I also assume that less effort for writing will encourage people to post (and write) more.
- Finally, more monetization opportunities. It’s easy. More businesses on the platform = more potential advertisement buyers. The girl writing about the liver also sell books about health. And sharing knowledge via Instagram is the best way to make people “taste” her product.
But even if users are not trying to develop some kind of business, but want to share their thought with the world — isn’t it worth improving?
Sometimes one picture could say more than thousands of words. But sometimes you do need thousands of words to say something important. There are a lot of people telling the stories. And I really don’t understand why Instagram encourage businesses to join the platform but doesn’t improve such basic thing.
Hopefully, Instagram eventually will fix this.
Hopefully, you won’t quit before that.
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