Do you remember the heinous design of ketchup bottles about a decade ago?
Getting one drop of ketchup on a burger was an unending trial of patience owing to the way the bottles were designed. It all changed when Heinz decided to turn the world (and the bottles) upside down, making things easy.
Moving to tech, the first Amazon website launched in July 1995.
The website included a million book titles. Amazon.com today is a full-fledge marketplace and a far cry from the original website, with endless products, categories, sellers, and more.
The current Amazon website looks nothing like its decades-old predecessor due to constant UX and UI evolution – the hallmark of some of the best apps, including photo and video sharing platform Instagram.
Today, the app is ubiquitous across households. It’s the stranglehold of pop-culture and remains one of the top downloaded apps. The app’s walk to fame was not an instant overhaul – the evolution of Instagram has been a steady UI UX design process, with changes being incorporated seamlessly for the users.
Here’s a lowdown of the critical UI changes throughout the Instagram app design timeline:
History and evolution of Instagram
- Launched in 2010
- ‘Iconic’ makeover – 2011
- Facebook takes over - 2012
- Embedded links and DMs – 2013
- Business profile – 2014
- Introduction of CTAs and Boomerang – 2015
- Introduction of Stories and a Logo change - 2016
- Advanced story features - 2017
- IGTV, quick responses, and product stickers - 2018
- Creator accounts - 2019
- A motley of features – 2020
- Professional dashboard – 2021
Launched in 2010
Instagram, or the ‘Gram’ as it is called, was initially named Burbn.
Combining check-ins and social gaming, it eventually molded into a photo-sharing app with photo-editing solutions, making it the first of its kind in the space. The photo editing feature caught the users’ attention, becoming the app’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
The trivia no one asked for: Kevin Systrom’s puppy was the first-ever Instagram photo to be uploaded.
‘Iconic’ makeover – 2011
In March 2011, Instagram debuts the “classic” app logo. The original logo was designed by the company’s founder Kevin Systrom in 2010 and it represented a Polaroid camera with a rainbow stripe. Thus began the starting point of the evolution of Instagram logo. It was an updated version of the 2010 version, with the text Insta placed under the vertical rainbow. The lens was glossier and the logo appeared more cleaner and aesthetic than its predecessor.
Facebook takes over – 2012
Within two months of launch, it gained over a million active users. In 2012, it was bought out by Facebook and soon after a year, it gained its first 100 million monthly active users.
Embedded links and DMs – 2013
Embedded links was one prominent feature introduced by Instagram in July 2013. It propelled brands to get increased engagement by linking to videos on the platform.
The same year, Sponsored posts were introduced. The feature with user targeting and demographic placed the posts on the user feeds, leading to a burgeoning number of followers for some brands, including Michael Kors.
It was the same year, when the app introduced the Direct Messaging feature for users.
Business profile – 2014
As a result of the sponsored posts’ popularity, Instagram launched business profiles for users with a dashboard interface to analyze key metrics, including impressions, reach, ad campaigns, and more.
Introduction of CTAs and Boomerang – 2015
In anticipation of future purchases that would be made on the platform, Instagram offered call-to-action buttons, including the ones for app installs and newsletter sign-ups.
After ages, the app expanded photo formats, going beyond the square. It also introduced the Boomerang feature to spice up the way to capture and share moments.
Introduction of Stories and a Logo change – 2016
Demographic information on users was made available, along with the option to turn popular posts into ads. But the most exciting addition that year was Instagram Stories, which had a shelf life of 24 hours. The app wrapped up the year in style by introducing Live Video broadcasting for real-time interaction with other users.
The year also saw Ranked feed, which showed users the posts they cared about first.
Instagram also changed the overall look and feel along with an icon overhaul. The app had a sleeker look with a black-and-white design, while its new logo had a splash of colors. The new Instagram logo was a stark contrast to its previous logo. While it retained the camera element, the logo was flat with a skewed square and circle with a gradient color scheme.
Advanced story features – 2017
2017 was an eventful year with full-screen story ads, story highlights, story hashtags, location tags, and new analytics for both stories and posts. The app also introduced a new shopping feature, making it easy for users to discover and purchase the products. The best part was giving users the possibility to explore AR effects on the platform.
IGTV, quick responses, and product stickers – 2018
Instagram introduced quick responses for business accounts to interact and reply to messages from the target audience. In mid-2018, the app launched IGTV to compete with YouTube, letting users publish 60-minute long videos. It also introduced links and product stickers for stories. The introduction of music for stories was another game-changing move from the platform.
Creator accounts – 2019
To help creators keep a tab on analytics and growth of their accounts, Creator Accounts got added to the Instagram UI. Another prominent change was in-app purchase feature making Instagram foray into the eCommerce industry.
A motley of features – 2020
In 2020, Instagram introduced a bunch of new features, including:
- Access to a separate inbox for business profiles
- Monetization of IGTV videos with ad revenue
- New story and profile features for small businesses
- Option to tag and display products within Live videos
- Shopping tab moves from Explore page to the bottom of the screen
- Reels introduced in the wake of TikTok’s massive success
- Facebook Business Suite app replaced Pages Manager App
- Product tags for Instagram ads
- Option to purchase featured products in Reels
Professional dashboard – 2021
The Professional Dashboard debuts on Instagram for businesses and creators, offering them analytics, resources, and viewpoints directly from the app.
Instagram’s UI design is a lesson in how incremental updates win over sudden changes. As Naoko Fukasawa famously quoted, “Design needs to be plugged into human behavior. Design dissolves in behavior.” The app’s powerful, persuasive interface is intuitive, with users adapting to the updates seamlessly over the years. And perhaps, that’s what highlights the success of Instagram’s evolution over the years.
Need a complete overhaul of your existing app or want to create a new one from scratch? Connect with us to simplify your interfaces and amplify your business’s growth.