Why IG Users Are Disappointed with IGTV?- UX Case Study

Can you imagine that Instagram is now a global community of one billion? Since 2010, Instagram has invented different features that continue to excite their users, such as stories, highlights, and etc. This summer, Instagram announced the new feature: IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from user’s favorite Instagram creators or to create themselves. It’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical.

Most of the IG users have used this new feature that is built inside of the Instagram app. However, not many people know that IGTV is an independent app.

Research Goal

To identify and understand the pain points of the current IGTV user’s experience. What potential solutions can improve their experience that are better and meet the user’s needs.

IGTV App Screenshots

Understand the Opportunity

The problem I suspect is that:

  • Not all the IG users know about IGTV
  • User interface and functionality are not intuitive enough to use
  • The content does not interest the users so the turnover rate is low

With these discoveries in mind, how might we improve the current user experience of the app and increase the users in the future?

Define Audience

There are a variety of users who might be IGTV’s potential users. I conclude several types of users who are the majority of IGTV users.

  • Existing Instagram Users
  • Active Social Media Users
  • Daily Commuters
  • Video Generators & Viewers

User Stories

To understand why IGTV is disappointed to its user, I asked around my friends and conducted about 5 formal interviews and around 5 informal ones. With all the conversations around IGTV, I concluded some of the quotes from the interviewees that explained their experiences of using IGTV.

“I don’t really like this new app. The UI is messy and not attractive which stops my desire to explore more. When I first open this app, there are so many things happen at the same time that is too overwhelming.” -Tong Wu ( journalism & media background / active IG user)

“I think there’s potential but I just don’t know what direction could be better.”

-Xirian Yang (digital media background/ addictive IG user & a content generator)

“The search function is not efficient. I’m unable to find the relevant videos instead of giving me the channels. The search results can’t keep me interested in using this app.” -Alan Peng (UX designer/ technologist/ active IG viewer)

“I don’t like that I can’t rotate my phone to watch the video.” -Xirian Yang

“I wish I can preview all the content under one channel that I don’t have to keep scrolling.” -Chelsea Chen (digital media background/ addictive IG user)

“I think hashtags could be embedded in the search engine.” -Eva Chen (design background/ active IG user)

Pain Points

After general user research, I listed out several findings and pain points that need to be fixed.

  • Search results DO NOT match with the content
  • Recommended video selections DO NOT match user’s interest
  • Video layout is overwhelming
  • User CANNOT unfollow their friend’s IGTV channel
  • Only one account for one IGTV channel

User Journey

To classify all the IGTV users, there are two types: content generator and content viewer.

Here, I drew a general user journey for a typical content viewer.

Feature Prioritization

By taking consideration of the user flow above, I list out all the problems that need to be fixed with priority.


  • Search options
  • Recommended video list
  • Page interaction
  • gestures and tap
  • Video captions
  • Video layout


  • Able to preview the video
  • Able to have multiple channels with one account
  • Menu design
  • Video ratio consistency


  • The option to unfollow friend’s channel

Solving Problems

According to user research, most of the users had troubles navigating through the app because of the unfamiliar interaction that IGTV currently has. Since IGTV is relatively new, its users unintentionally associate with the interaction of Instagram app.

So, it is very important to have a familiar user flow and interaction for a new app before approaches to more creative design.

To keep this design goal in mind, I picked out the most urgent problem in two categories.

User Interface

  • Clean and intuitive video layout
  • Borrow IG gesture interaction to IGTV
  • Redesign the menu


  • Inaccurate search function
  • Recommended video list — from your friends
  • Able to preview the video
  • Video caption


User Interface

In the first iteration, with all the suggestions in mind, I tried to follow Instagram’s current visual design.


I simplified the video layout that the user is able to scroll up and down to view the video lists. Compared to the current video layout, the user would not feel overwhelmed when opening the app. The user has the option to browse all the video before the video starts playing.

Buttonless Design

Although buttons are still one of the vital elements of UI design, Instagram had already followed the trend of the UI interaction without buttons for their app. Instagram Story best demonstrates the buttonless interaction. The user is able to swipe down to exist Instagram Story. Although many IG users are familiar with this gesture, IG has also included a exit icon for the user who is not familiar with the interaction.

In the new IGTV app, I borrowed this gesture behavior into the UI design of the user’s profile. The purpose of the design is to avoid user get lost in the app and they can easily enter and exit.

Menu Design

This new menu design allows users to either tap or swipe. This approach makes the user flow lot more intuitive and avoids user getting lost while switching pages.

User Testing

With the first iteration above, I want to know if this new design is actually improving user’s experience of using IGTV. I conducted 10 user tests with different users and the goal is to see if the user flow is intuitive.

Here are some suggestions I received:

  • Menu design needs to be reconsidered
    — what if the menu has a long list?
  • The option of preview the video
  • Texts are too small


Although there are some minor parts need to be fixed, the feedback from the user testing was mostly positive.

Menu Design

Menu design is the most difficult part to consider. The UI design for the menu is quite subjective so there could be many creative approaches for the UI design.

To recap, the goal of redesigning this app is to help IGTV users have an intuitive and the best user experience.

So, I borrowed the UI design of IG stories for the menu. Since IGTV is an extension of IG stories, the user should be able to connect the function in between. By clicking one of the menu options, the video list will be switched horizontally. The image of each icon represents the newest video based on time.


To include feedback from user testing, the preview function will help the user to have 30 seconds glance before the user decides to view more or not. The interaction is the same as the Instagram preview.


The only update for the video is video caption. The user has the option of turning on the video caption at the setting. Also, by tapping once anywhere on the screen will allow the video to pause. Unlike the current design, the user has to tap on the pause icon which is not an universal design.


With the new design, the user is able to create multiple channels.


Now, the user is able to search by channels, tags, and people. This search feature is similar to Instagram which helps the user to narrow down the search result and suits their needs.


Stretch Goals

In order to perform the best user experience, there are some possible solutions to keep in mind.

  • Not only tracking the user’s browsing history and their habits but also taking their friend’s interest into account. By using the technique of machine learning, IGTV can study the user’s social network and their common interests in order to provide the list of recommended videos that fit the user’s interest.
  • IGTV can stimulate the interaction between users who have the same interest. For example, for users who follow the same channel, IGTV should provide functions on the app for users to network, set up events, or other activities that encourage the community to build up.

Next Steps

During the whole process, I did not have the chance to interview many active IGTV users. Therefore, I would like to test my current prototype with these users and receive more feedbacks.