Why did my beloved Instagram make such a bad UX move?


I am a huge fan of Instagram. Both as a user and as a designer. They really made a product that is truly something any designer would love to claim as his own. That is why the latest change is such a surprise to me!

Y U Do Dis?

Below you can see a screenshot of one of my own Instagram posts with the UX as it is now.


The change is how Instagram is showing us when the photo was posted. Before it was where those 3 dots are now, aligned with the username. Usually it was a certain number of weeks unless it was posted less than a week ago, then it would show a number of hours/days passed.

Even though for a brief period those dots were a minimalistic downward pointing arrow as can be seen on a screenshot below.

Now if we want to see when something is posted we need to scroll down a bit to get that info. I chose a photo with no comments on purpose to show that even then it’s not all that easy to spot. With comments present there is even more scrolling to do.

In UX terms Instagram gave that prime placement the posting date had to the Delete/Edit/Share options (different options are available if the post is not yours) who already had a very nice and functional place on the screen.
Well it wasn’t only nice and functional — it was perfect! It was aligned with all the other clickable options you had on a photo and grouping options like that is kind of a dream come true for any UX designer, trust me. 
Also it was easier to get to those options when using your phone with only one hand which makes it even crazier they would do this. Even with two hands you need to stretch that thumb aaaall the way to the top to access these options.

That is the thing that is confusing me the most! Now that space is unused and it makes no sense at all.

Video Posts

When I first noticed the change I thought it had something to do with video posts as those have a HUUGE UX problem themselves. Which one? Well below is one of my own video posts and could you please tell me how many likes my post has?

For that you need to click the Views and then you are shown a screen like this:

Instagram obviously thinks when it comes to videos we don’t care about showing engagement. Views are great but we all know how Facebook counts views (3 seconds are enough to count as a view) which makes them not that reliable when it comes to measuring how engaging the video is. It doesn’t matter when the video is a 1 second Boomerang upload but when it’s a full 15 sec video then it matters if the user just scrolled over it and autoplay did the rest or they actually stuck around for the whole duration of the video.

Also, could you make the number of likes on a video any less visible?!

On The Plus Side

The only positive outcome of this change is that now we can see when exactly was the photo posted which until now was a bit tricky to know once a week has passed.

In my opinion when exactly a photo is posted is not worth making such a big step backwards in terms of UX. But then again why change everything to give users that information and then display it in an almost invisible manner?! (no, in this case invisible UX is not the best UX because it’s about displaying information)

They could have decided to show that date where options were before and I would be much less confused (and annoyed!).

My only hope that this change is a part of a bigger change and it will make sense when everything is done but for now it makes no sense to have it like this.

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