Instagram just saved itself from a major product failure.
Last evening, Instagram suddenly shifted from its vertical layout to a horizontal one and the heated response to it, led the company to undo the changes quickly.
Instagram literally went “felt cute but might delete later” #instagramupdate
— Basma (@basmahxmde) December 27, 2018
The feature, apparently was part of small test which by mistake went out to the broader audience.
Two things happened which product leaders should really take note of:
1. People revolted (apparently, they were searching for ‘unupdating’ Insta).
Which is actually a great news for the Insta product teams. It is a clear reflection of how the product, in spite of so much of backlash against the parent company, i.e. Facebook still continues to remain relevant and sticky among its target audience.
2. Instagram was essentially testing “Tap to advance”feature.
Unlike the vertical scroll, Tap to advance makes it easier to move between posts and stay fully in view.
I have the new Instagram horizontal scroll interface. I’m sure this will not be met with any backlash WHATSOEVER. But seems maybe intended to reduce mindless vertical scrolling? cc @mosseri comments at the end 😭 pic.twitter.com/fwmtbfjFaf
— Alex Heath (@alexeheath) December 27, 2018
Instagram got some serious feedback much before the GA release (the product team, I am sure must have had a good laugh and learning from this episode).
Imagine, the company launching the horizontal scroll feature to everybody! That could have been an end to the Insta story (remember Snapchat’s redesign mess?) !!