Case Study: Instagram Redesign, by Ian Spalter

Redesigning one of the world's largest apps is a significant challenge. How did Ian Spalter lead this process, and what learnings can we take from this case? Continue reading to understand this challenging redesign case! ![Ian](https://static.tvmaze.com/uploads/images/original_untouched/212/531682.jpg) It's very hard to find someone who hasn't heard of Instagram at least once. One of the most popular social networks in the world also had to undergo a redesign process. Ian Spalter, Product Designer, at the time Head of Design at Instagram, was responsible for coordinating the entire app redesign process. Understand how this challenge was approached and which processes and stages were fundamental for this project. *This article was based on an episode from the series Abstract: The Art of Design, available on Netflix. What is redesign? Redesign is the process of overhauling the existing design of a product, software, application, etc. It's a very important process and must be done with great caution. Redesign should not be done just because the client is tired of the current design. There must be real and necessary reasons to start such a project for it to be successful. We can list some reasons why redesign can be useful: Decrease in sales and revenue; Decrease in market share; Reduced click-through rate; Low conversion rate; Decrease in the number of product downloads; Reduction in user interface time. Therefore, the redesign of a product should be well aligned with the objectives and needs of the requesting company. If not, the redesign can even harm its results. Ian Spalter Ian Spalter is a renowned Product Designer in Silicon Valley, with one in seven people in the world using a product supervised by him. Before becoming Head of Design at Instagram, Ian was part of several major companies' teams, such as YouTube and Foursquare. Spalter also oversaw Nike's FuelBand project, where he had the challenge of turning a pedometer into something wearable, usable, and attractive to people. In other words, Ian Spalter is a highly qualified Product Designer, and it's no wonder he is one of the leaders of the Instagram design team. Instagram One of the most famous social networks in the world, the photo and video sharing app needs no introduction. The platform has over 1 billion active users since 2008, and Brazil is second on the list of countries with the most users, behind only the USA. Because it is a large social network, its redesign impacts various people, from celebrities to political figures. Therefore, it was a major challenge for Ian to have been involved in this project. The challenges of the project Initially, Ian had two objectives in the project with Instagram: Re-branding the platform; Redesign the app, making it more modern. It goes without saying the size of the responsibility and pressure that came with this project. As already mentioned, Instagram has users of all kinds: celebrities, politicians, brands, and companies from all over the world. If any wrong decision were made, the damage would be enormous. Re-branding To work on the new identity of Instagram, Ian was concerned with what were the essential elements that already existed in the current logo, which users would immediately remember. To do this, he did some research with his own team and asked each member to draw, in 10 seconds, the Instagram logo the best way they remembered it. With this exercise/research, Ian was able to separate what was essential and what was dispensable from the logo and could work on the users' perception of the platform. From these insights, Ian and his team began to build what became the new Instagram logo that we know today. User feedback Every change brings strangeness and discomfort. And it was no different with what happened with the launch of the new Instagram logo. The team began to suffer attacks from internet users, and there were articles and stories criticizing the decision. But deep down, they felt comfortable with the change. And they couldn't be more right. The growth of active users on the app exceeded 1 billion, and this achievement is the result, among other things, of Ian and his team's work. An efficient redesign is linked to the company's objectives and not to personal tastes. Instagram's growth from logo and app redesign proves that the right decisions were made to improve the company's results. Redesign of the application In addition to the logo, Ian redesigned the application's design, making it simpler and more focused on the user experience. In this sense, colors and buttons were removed, making the focus of the user experience the shared photos, which is the central objective of Instagram. One characteristic that Ian is proud of his team is that they think integratively and how things within the application connect and move. The concern is with the User Journey and not with separate layouts and designs, without connection. Furthermore, the team creates various faithful prototypes to test the usability of the new design. This stage is very important because it is by testing the prototype that the user experience is evaluated and how he reacts and interacts with the new design. New project: user profile redesign After leading the two projects, of rebranding the logo and the application, Ian's next challenge is to redesign the user profile experience. In this project, the challenge was to redesign the part of the application where the user projects himself and describes who he is. Therefore, it is something quite sensitive. For this, many meetings were held, and from them, tests were carried out to understand whether users were comfortable with the changes or not. After this Feedback moment, the team designed new solutions. An interesting part of working with application design is thinking about the impact these changes will have on the user's life. For example, Ian's team wants to diminish the importance that the number of followers has in the user's life. Of course, this change has to be made carefully, but it is an important thing that can remove anxiety and social pressure through a new design. What we can learn from Ian Spalter? Ian proves that Product Design and UX are not random and disconnected jobs. A lot of research, testing, workshops, and hundreds of meetings are needed for a UX project—whether redesign or not—to be successful. We can check out some quick learnings we had from this case study: Know what you want to solve: It is important to have the definition of the problem, understand why we want to solve it, and what are the project's benefits; Be rational: Do not make design decisions based on your personal tastes. Research and decide on what is best for the user and the company; Research and test: Always do research with users, test the design with them, get feedback, adapt, and start the cycle again; Use prototypes: They are essential for users to experience the changes; Think about business: UX is a strategic area and must be aligned with product goals and business objectives; Design Impacts: Think about what impact the user's behavior will have when launching a new design. To deepen your knowledge To deepen the learnings from the case study above, we've selected some articles that are very useful: What is Design Thinking and How to Apply It to Your Projects Business Design: Why It's Important to Know About Business? User Journey - What It Is and Its Importance in UX Design Interaction Design: the 6 fundamental principles Usability testing: How to Prepare and Conduct? Everything About Agile: The Philosophy That Will Make You Much More Efficient.

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I was able to watch the documentary on Netflix and realized that not everything we do that is good is recognized right away, that it often takes a long time for people to recognize our work.