Instagram is rolling out an updated design in select areas that would make the photo-sharing site look more like Facebook. The new design boosts Instagram’s focus on #brands, allowing companies and individuals to categorize themselves based on their areas of focus to appeal to specific audiences. The site is also debuting a Contact button to free up needed space in the bio for more personal information and to enhance how businesses can interact with their clients.
Facebook bought the photo app back in 2012. Since then, Instagram has only made minor changes. The update feels a little bit like Facebook has been tugging at Instagram to professionalize. Sure, people want to follow their friends, but like Facebook and Twitter, many also want to use the platforms to keep track of their favorite companies and even build a name for themselves. And with users making major dough off their Instagram posts, it’s about time the site appealed to marketing directors as well as high school students.
The only awkward part of the new design is that relatively few people can see the updated profiles. An Australian with access to the new features may nix their contact info from their bio, but then those of us in the United States who can’t see the Contact button will have no means to reach out. In other words, the new system is a work in progress.
The new Instagram profile allows users to organize their profiles according to several preset categories. “Health/Wellness Website” in this case clearly reveals the intent of the profile to the user, drawing in those who are interested in the field. For those who want to follow up, the Contact button is located prominently at the top of the profile to facilitate commercial interactions.
The Contact button reveals a menu of options for getting in touch. A user can either “get directions” to a place of business or just directly email the supervisor of the page. The feature removes the need to include email or location information from the bio, making space for other interesting information.
Clicking on the “get directions” bar in the contact menu brings users to a map with the location of the business clearly marked. The feature allows users to simply connect with a site on Instagram, never having to deal with a separate webpage to find contact information or even navigate to their location.
It’s not a radical change, but it does shake up how Instagram feels. Between this update and its much-maligned plan to curate feeds based on an algorithm rather than chronologically, Instagram faces a major challenge to whether its users will stick with it through the storm of change.