Instagram Print Studio Case Study

A case study for one of my biggest concept projects at General Assembly

Alec O'Grady
Oct 4, 2017 · 5 min read

This is a concept project given to me at General Assembly. I worked on a team of 4 to help create this project. We did everything from research, to the final design.

Instagram Print Studio is a new feature we built in to Instagram. Our goal was to diversify Instagram’s revenue stream and increase overall user engagement. We found that creating a platform to print photos directly in Instagram was the best option that successfully achieved both of those goals.

Tools: Sketch | Invision | Photoshop

Problem & Solution

The problem was simple. Instagram wants to diversify its revenue stream and increase user engagement beyond just advertising by allowing users to customize and purchase physical versions of their photos.

Our solution is an end-to-end personal printing experience that’s built right into Instagram’s existing platform.


I was on a team of 4 for this project. We had 2 weeks to have a final product. My primary roles were UI Designer & Prototype Developer. This project gave me the experience of working with a team, and further developing my technical skills.

Final Product

Below are some of my final screens. You can see the rest in my interactive prototype below.


• Monthly Instagram Users: 700,000,000 — (April 2017)

• “Instagram is expected to announce that it has reached more than 1 million monthly active advertisers, as the Facebook Inc-owned photo-sharing app tries to become a center of Online commerce” — (March 22nd, 2017)

• Mobile • Trends • Photos • Likes • Brands

• Connection • Moments • Nostalgia

• Milestones • Aspirational • Memories

• Marketing • Personal• Storytelling • Social Validation

• We provide a product and experience that is unique to the platform

• It is a convenient, end-to-end experience

Competitive Analysis

Through our competitive analysis, we found that there were a number of printing options online. But, we found that there wasn’t a good mobile option, each site was hard to navigate, and provided an overwhelming amount of printing options.This reaffirmed our team’s initial analysis. The question isn’t why print your photos, but why print them through Instagram.


Below are our two personas that we came up with:

Photography Pheobe, Primary Persona
  • Uses Instagram for modeling purposes
  • Seeks social validation while using the platform
Aspiring Adam, secondary persona
  • An aspiring photographer
  • Uses Instagram to post personal photos to friends and family
  • Will print photos from specific events


Left: V1 of Selection Screen, Right: V1 of Personalize Screen

We used our first wireframes for usability testing. We found a few problems which we fixed in the second version. Here are a few problems we encountered in usability testing:

  • Users wanted to tap the “total” bar at the bottom of the screen to go to the next screen
  • They wanted to leave the profile page when selecting photos
  • Users didn’t understand the “print photos” icon on the profile screen.
  • Users didn’t understand the “date” icon on the customize screen.

You can see the changes made below in the next iteration.

Left: V2 of selection screen, Right: V2 of Personalize Screen
  • We made a hovering bubble that displays your total and quantity.
  • The selection page pops up from the bottom, which communicates that you’re now starting an entire new flow.
  • We changed both the date and printing icons to make them more understandable to the user.

Further Research

Journey Map
User Flow
Empathy Map

Final Thoughts & Conclusions

I had a lot of fun working on this project. It challenged me in many ways and made me think about how Instagram would actually design this product. Here are some future steps that we’d like to incorporate:

• Create a New Feature launch & on boarding campaign

• Marketplace additional function where professionals can offer artwork for sale

• Integrate more user engagement point of contact through milestone notifications

• Offer seasonal & holiday themed print options

• Develop opportunities for enterprise sponsorships by creating branded, event specific photo-printing (a Global Photo Booth)

• Creating a native checkout process

• Continue to refine & elevate the user experience by responding to shifting priorities

• Developing PR & user engagement campaigns such as Pop-up Galleries where users can display prints

If you like what you read here, go ahead and clap those hands! You can also check out my website for other UX Projects. As always, be sure to follow me on Instagram & Twitter. 💁🏼‍♂️

Alec O'Grady

Written by

UX Designer // Photographer // Filmmaker {Currently in San Francisco}

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade