Instaprint was a conceptual project for a printing feature in Instagram carried out over a two-week sprint. Working in a group of three we applied several UX techniques to create several iterations of a mobile app designed to allow Instagram users to print their images and buy prints of other Instagrammer’s images.
Create an interactive prototype for Instaprint, an extension of the Instagram photo sharing social media app, which aims to allow its users to customise and purchase physical copies of their photos as well as photos from other accounts, providing a variety of printed products for them to choose from. Through Instaprint, Instagram will be able to diversify its revenue stream beyond just advertising, whilst simultaneously providing a ‘one stop shop’ for the part of its user base that want to move beyond digital photo sharing.
Client | Conceptual Project for General Assembly
Target Device | Mobile
Sprint Duration | 2 Weeks
Team Size | 3
Skills Used | User research, Concept mapping, Competitive Analysis, Contextual Analysis, Surveys, User flows, Sketching interfaces, Paper prototyping, Task Analysis, User interviews, Designing for personas, Card sorting, Usability testing, Interaction Design, Experience Maps, Presentation techniques
Software Used | Sketch, Trello, Invision, Adobe Photoshop, Keynote, Omnigraffle
We created a survey to get a better understanding of how people use Instagram and other photo-sharing websites. The survey also helped us to gather information on how often people printed their photos and their reasons for doing so. We had over 130 responses from the survey which gaves us a good indication of different behaviours. Many of the people who responded to our survey were willing to be interviewed as well so we carried out over twenty interviews in person and over the phone. This gave us a chance to get more in depth knowledge of how they might use Instagram to print photos.
Surveys and interviews with Instagram users indicated that many people print photos to decorate their home, for mementos or to give as gifts to friends and family. Experienced photographers also like to showcase their portfolios on Instagram and would like to be able to have a shop function to sell their work through the app.
“I go through all my photos I’ve taken in a year, and I’ll make a photo album or collage as I don’t want them to get lost in cyberspace”
To further verify that there is a market for Instaprint and establish where it can sit, we looked at the current competitive landscape. Alongside Instagram we have other popular photo sharing social media platforms such as Snapchat and Pinterest. There are more artist-specific photo-sharing communities that allow for artists to sell prints of their work such as Flickr and Deviant Art. Related to these are the e-commerce sites allowing artists to sell their work printed on a variety of media. Connected to Instagram are companies that specialise in printing Instagram photos and have borrowed from the square format aesthetic such as Inkifi. Printing companies like Photobox and Snapfish have an integrated ‘upload from instagram’ functionality. Other popular printing companies that haven’t accounted for this yet. An indirect competitor is Instax, a camera that allows the instant printing of photos.
There is an opportunity for Instagram to gain a large share of the market by allowing Instagrammers to print directly from the app. User research and interviews confirmed this and led us to conclude that the app would need to have the following features :
1) An Instaprint button on Instagrammers profile page and individual photos
2) Very clear navigation product option functions.
3) A ‘shop’ function to allow users to buy other Instagrammers images and images of artists and photographers that they admire.
The insights we gathered during these helped us identify 3 types of user groups: experienced photographers, occasional Instagrammers, and Instagrammers who post often. The groups helped to inform our personas. In our research we found that Instagram users are 68% female, and also 90% under the age of 35; we have reflected this in our choice of personas, outlined below.
We chose Anna as our primary persona because, out of our three personas, she was the most likely to use a printing service frequently. She would also be equally interested in printing personal content as well as purchasing prints of artwork by other Instagram users. Vicky would have similar habits to her, especially in printing for personal use, but has some budget restrictions due to being a student. Finally Gabriel would have a more specialist focus and would primarily be interested in a shop functionality. Anna would be interested in purchasing artwork from Instagram users like him.
With the results from our research, surveys and interviews, we drew up an experience map of Anna's current experience of printing photos to add emotional context and illustrate where and frustrations or pain points were in the process.
When deciding to print something, Anna finds searching for the right company frustrating, and the longwinded process of uploading photos, editing them and then going to check out becomes a bit of a chore. She needs a quick and easy way to order prints.
Allowing users to print directly from their Instagram feed will save them the time it takes to find the right company. Mirroring the familiar, easy and quick Instagram editing process will take the pain out of the order process.
Understanding Anna's problems and frustrations helped us to establish what functions and features Instaprint would need to have to help Anna easily print her photos. We carried out task analysis, affinity mapping and feature prioritisation exercises and concluded that Instaprint would need to have the following features:
Easily discoverable button connecting Instagram account to Instaprint
Product gallery and inspiration/suggestions
Editor function allowing photo selection and editing, mirroring Instagram
‘Shop’ functionality accessible on artist profiles
The user flows shown below were drawn up to illustrate the steps Anna would need to take to complete various tasks associated with printing photos.
We sketched out an initial set of paper prototypes to incorporate the features we had to included and to test our assumptions about how Anna and other users would use Instaprint and where we should place those features on the screens. Various iterations were made of the initial designs based on user feedback from our interviewees and several other testers. The main changes made were :
1) Navigation around the site needed to be improved ; testers initially found it difficult to go back to the previous screen
2) Several iterations of the Instaprint logo were designed but, following user feedback, these were replaced with a printer logo.
3) Based on user feedback, the ‘My Orders’ button was moved to the hamburger menu.
The outcome of all our work and research was a clickable prototype in Invision which allows users to print their own photos and buy images to print from other Instagrammers. Please click on "TRY THE PROTOTYPE" at the bottom of this page to see the full version.
Desktop version of Instaprint.
Accessibility testing of app, especially with users that have visual impairments and dyslexia
Develop Instaprint app for use on other popular mobile platforms (such as Android) and refine desktop version.
Explore high res upload capabilities and copyright restrictions for ‘shop’ functionality