Avid Instagram users love the photo-based, social-sharing site for its cool filters and image-editing tools. However, some odd features and a lack of important functionality degrade the overall experience and limit creativity. Here are four simple things Instagram could do to vastly improve its social network.
1) Instagram searches quickly disappear, hashtags don't
If you regularly search for the same handful of Instagram accounts, you know how annoying it can be when the app deletes those "favorites." Specifically, when you click on the search bar on the app's "Discover page," you can search by username, and Instagram saves the last 10 accounts you searched for under a "Top" tab -- but not for long. Every few days, the app deletes those 10 account-searches, which doesn't make a lot of sense because they're the accounts you want to see most often. This can also make it difficult to remember new users you looked at recently, but didn't follow. Also, a limit of 10 saved searches probably isn't enough for enthusiastic Instagram users.
Instagram doesn't treat hashtags the same way; the app stores more recently searched hashtags than usernames. For example, my app still shows the #4thofjuly hashtag in my saved searches, but it already deleted accounts I viewed just a few days ago. It also saved 17 recent hashtags I used or clicked on, but within the "Tags" tab on the search page, it saved, or shows, only five, which makes no sense.
2) Too many Instagram add-ons, not enough core functionality
A ton of convenient add-on apps exist for Instagram that serve as fillers for important features the app lacks. But that's a problem. There are simply too many of these third-party apps, and the company seems hesitant to simply integrate their features into its own core functionality.
For example, the Instasize app lets your resize long or wide photos so they fit into Instagram's rigid, square photo box. Repost allows you to literally repost other users' photos by copying a photo, along with its photo caption and a username, giving the person who posted the image credit when you share it. Picstitch makes photo collages for posting on social networks, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. (Instagram has its own photo-collage app, called Layout, but you still need to use a separate app to take advantage of the features.) The company probably doesn't want to alienate the crafty developers who created all of these valuable apps, but from a user perspective, it would be better to integrate the most popular features from these, and other, add-on apps into the official Instagram app.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.