Seriously. Instagram’s image presentation is so devoid of context that it’s laughable. There’s barely any attention paid to location, and none to time (the existence of the latergram tag indicates how poorly that’s handled). Speaking of tags, the presentation of those is also laughable.
I mean, I think I know what (Joshua?) is getting at here, but I really really don’t agree, for all that I accept that Instagram’s capture and upload seems to have set a standard for getting images posted.
Users are experiencing issues with viewing Instagram photos on Twitter. Issues include cropped images. This is due to Instagram disabling its Twitter cards integration, and as a result, photos are being displayed using a pre-cards experience. So, when users click on Tweets with an Instagram link, photos appear cropped.
For some strange reason there’s nothing about this on Instagram’s blog.
The Instagram guys ditched the requirement for a little button click and replaced it with a big touch friendly gesture. Two taps and bam, a heart pops up and you’re done. Very satisfying.
Hiding important functionality behind gestures may be something that users evolve to learn, but the road there is still long (I was watching some women exclaiming how hard Instagram was to use the other day!)
Is it worth noting here that although you can use double-tap to like, there’s also a “like” button under every photo? It’s possible to imagine the app without it* but it works well as both feedback that the like worked and as an alternative for anyone who hasn’t discovered the gesture yet.
* Even without the indicator of the button changing from “like” to “liked”, you can tell if you’ve liked something by checking if your name is in the list of people who have. That list collapses for photos that are popular, but it’d be possible to work around that by showing something like “blech and 25 others liked this” for those images.
Features from a handful of alternate Twitters:
- the ability to edit a tweet. There are several patterns in community software for handling the “I responded and then you changed what you said” pattern. One of then is versioning. The other is a short window of edits. It’s a question of balancing how much you prefer the conversational integrity vs the benefits of a little hypocrisy to a person’s self expression.
- privacy. I was an early thorn in Twitter’s side about supporting the privacy settings. But honestly it was just always too much work to respond manually to follow requests or to maintain two separate accounts. Per status privacy and per status geo-privacy would go a long way towards changing the nature of what people share on Twitter away from re-publishing Mashable headlines.
Both of the features I’ve picked out are hard. Allowing people to go back and edit data (and metadata) means not only providing a graceful UI, but also breaking the model of storing data once and being able to treat it as read-only. Per-post and per-feature privacy is also, obviously, pretty tricky, both in UI terms, and in the model of interactions that start happening. (If Eve is a friend and Brenda is family, when Anna posts a photo that’s friends and family but with location locked to family only, there’s lots of combinations to check.)
Of course, just because they’re hard, it doesn’t mean they’re not possible. Flickr has supported editing metadata (and even, for pro users, replacing the image data) along with a sophisticated (albeit arguably overcomplex) privacy model, while Facebook allows editing of comments (for a short time), and various Google services manage a mix of both.
It’s Twitter that, for whatever reasons (engineering expedience? a desire for simplicity?) not only ended up with both the inability to edit anything after the fact and an almost-not-there privacy model, but did so in such a way that a crop of services following along copied them. I’d single out Instagram, which made almost exactly the same design decisions. (You can’t change an Instagram photo’s caption or location once it’s post, or have different privacy settings per image, or (again) for location. Hell, they don’t even return whether a user is private in the API responses. At least Twitter, which otherwise has the same limitations, gets that one right.)
Obviously, there are some good reasons to implement systems the Twitter way rather than the Flickr one. I just wish - and I think that Kellan feels the same - that occasionally people would consider whether the richness that’s been lost might be worth spending some effort on.
An officer of the Department of Corporations asked Systrom how Instagram made money.
“That’s a great question,” said Systrom. “We do not.”
Instagram had considered various means of making money but “nothing came of it,” Systrom explained.