Instagram first run – 2015 version

Instagram iOS app first time user experience

The good bits

  • Each screen in setup is focused on a single task, and there is no introductory tour to distract users from the steps at hand. Screens are consistent whether the user is signing up via email or via Facebook.
  • When asked to create his username, the app provides realtime validation as to whether that name is available.
  • During setup, the new user is encouraged to choose interests and follow the accounts of contacts or suggested people.  This adds a personal focus that can set him up for success.
  • Outside of the setup flow, Instagram relies on well-placed inline cues so that the user can learn by exploring. Empty screens use inline cues to educate the user about what that section is for, and show an action the user can do to populate content.
  • The education on most blank slates makes it clear that sharing media is the app’s key action. All camera permissions are asked at runtime, providing immediate context so that the user understands why he needs to allow access.
  • Other inline cues show up over time, like the hint to use Instagram Direct, or the “Tap video for sound” tip that appears on videos and eventually reduces to a simple “unmute” icon.

To be improved

  • The app forces the new user to sign up before showing any content, despite the fact that it is a content browsing product. The user is asked to add a lot of personal information (contacts, Facebook profiles) without knowing how it pays off.
  • Choosing Facebook login doesn’t shorten the setup steps by much.  Even if the new user chooses to follow his Facebook friends, he will still be prompted to “Find contacts.“
  • The prompt for notifications permission is abrupt, and takes away from the hero moment when the new user enters the full app experience after completing setup.
  • If the new user chooses to follow no accounts during setup, a plain photographic blank slate message is shown on the home screen. The app could consider showing suggestions inline on the home screen, just like it does for users who *have* followed accounts, instead of making him select “Find People to Follow.”