Let’s talk about Instagram, shall we? But first, let’s talk about me for a moment. I had gone on an amazing morning walk yesterday, and I took some even more amazing photos. Once I got back to my car, I decided to upload said photos to Instagram. Then I had a doctor’s appointment, so as you can imagine, I was sitting in the waiting room for a while. To help me pass the time, I opened up Instagram and it was like it had transformed into a bad version of Tinder. I mean, what was Instagram thinking?
In case you missed it, for a brief moment, Instagram began quietly testing a horizontal feed for some users. This was a sideways shift from the vertical scrolling that we’ve grown to “love” over the years. The company had previously been testing the feature back in October in the Explore section of the app, but it seems that it’s rolling it out more widely to users’ main feeds today.
So what’s the big deal? The new feed basically turns all posts into one single, giant Instagram story – which includes advance tapping and a scrolling bar at the top to show you how far you’ve progressed. But this is a major change for Instagram. Why? Well, with the side-scrolling option you will no longer be able to casually scroll through posts. What do I mean by that? With vertical scrolling, it was relatively easy to skip past posts or articles that you didn’t want to see. With side-scrolling, you have to stop, acknowledge what you are reading for a brief moment and then continue scrolling. It takes more brain power, and if I’m being honest – that’s not something I want when I’m on Instagram.
For me, I want to be able to mindlessly scroll through Instagram. Instagram is a way for me to take a break for a moment. With side-scrolling Instagram, I have to take a hard look at every single post to see what it is. You might think that I’m being silly but think about it in terms of Tinder. If you’ve ever used that app, you will know that it’ s a quick way to assess an individual and decide if you have any interest in them. In order to do that, you have to pause for a brief second, and then make your determination.
Why does this bother me so much? It’s much harder to quickly fly through your feed with this new layout. You can only advance a single post at a time. Stories, however, are much easier to access and while that’s fine and well, that in itself doesn’t sell me on this new way of doing things. But what struck me as odd, is that it was only applicable to the main feed. If you tapped on your own profile, or went into the search function, you would have noticed that it looked like the old Instagram that we knew and loved.
Yes, I am blowing this a bit out of proportion. But I think that Instagram needs to know that this isn’t something that people want. Sure – do some testing on it, but make sure that it’s what users want before rolling it out. If this is the new way that I will need to use Instagram, there’s a good chance that I won’t be opening it up as often. Shortly after this, Instagram reverted users back to the original vertical feed and all was right in the world.