PROJECT ID: GA_project_three


TEAM: Mohammed Elagouz, Sara Hemmer, Dave Lawson

YEAR: 2015

TOOLS: Sketch, Pen and Paper, axure

DELIVERABLES: Presentation slides, 40 Screens/states, Design documenation


PROJECT FOLDER: available soon

Project brief


Instagram’s 150 million global fans love taking photos of, and sharing their experiences. Giving loyal users a simple way to share a physical printed version of their digital memories carries other advantages. Industry experts calculate this could generate $720 million annually,1 in-App advantage without detracting from its core values: beauty and share-ability.
Recently purchased by Facebook for a $1 billion, quick profit’ has never been part of the Instagram DNA. In fact, founder Systrom has always avoided letting business strategy trump user experience2 Instagram to dive into the market, it needs to be certain any new revenue stream would support, not detract from its existing strategy.

The Challenge: Instagram Prints

The landscape for digital-to-print services is already crowded, price-sensitive and well established. Ninety-percent of Instagram’s core demographic is under 35, urban, trendy and according to Systrom, “off to the next shiny object.” As the first in-App’s revenue stream, the new service will need to have a high desirability and ease-of-use factors.


Advertising revenue is on the rise, and new baked-in features like “Explore” and “Search” have options that hone in on tags, people, or places. According to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom the update is “what we’ve been shooting for all along …It’s a real-time visual pulse for what is happening in the world.” Industry insiders have long speculated when Instagram might enter the already-crowded market for digital prints and related premiums and merchandise. Digital analyst Adrian Salamunovic calculates that by allowing Instagram photobugs to order physical prints from their snaps would yield around $720 million annually, conservatively.But ‘quick profit’ has never been part of the Instagram DNA. In fact, CEO Kevin Systrom has always avoided letting business strategy trump user experience.

But ‘quick profit’ has never been part of the Instagram DNA. In fact, CEO Kevin Systrom has always avoided letting business strategy trump user experience. For Instagram to dive into the market, it needs to be certain any new revenue stream would support, not detract from its existing strategy. According to founder Systrom, his early decision to “strip the product down to the most simple way to share beautiful photographs” is responsible for Instagram’s lasting affinity. Summing up the challenge of an App developer, Systrom told Fast Company “You have to explain everything you do and people have to understand it within seconds”. Instagram is interested in diversifying its revenue stream by giving users a simple way to ‘share a physical printed product’ without detracting from its core simplicity, beauty and share-ability. In the mobile context users have to ‘get it’ within 30 seconds because they’re off to the next shiny object. Ninety percent of Instagram’s 150 million users are < 35 years old, predominantly urban, youthful and skewed toward women.

Research / Plan

We used an online survey system (Constant Contact) to screen and gather info from Instagram App usage including frequency audience, and sharing ‘style’. We also probed about printed photographs—are they present in home or office? What type? Have you given a photo gift. This helped us identify baseline data about Instagram usage to confirm our testers paralleled our research about overall Instagram users.

After in-depth interviews with more than 6 Instagram frequent users, we were able to develop an affinity diagram and I-statements honing in on barriers, Instagram ‘featured and desirable motivations for photo sharing and methods for photo sharing. We were also able to explore sentiments and routine around printed photos or merchandise.

This process helps us clarify both problem statement and how Instagram could best leverage opportunities in-App without disrupting user flow. Following is an example:
”Sure I use my phone to take a lot of pictures, and I order lots of things from my phone--from dinner to movie tickets. But to order printed merchandise, I want the editing features and ordering process to be simple and straightforward. If adding a pic to my photo stream takes 5 steps, then I want similar ease to order something printed.”

Our research also indicated people were more likely to give photos as gifts rather than print them for personal use or display. This information helped us focus on a small, but well curated selection of printed ‘giftable’ items. Rather than compete directly with well-established printing services (EG: mpix, shutterfly, walgreens etc.). (PrinstaCollection.png screen in Presentation folder)

Our persona: Gabrielle Stone. Wedding Planning Associate, Single, F/25, Loves to document vacations. Hates time wasters and redundancy. Swears by cross-fit training and deep sea fishing trips to keep her sanity.
User scenario: Gabi wraps up afternoon wedding just in time to catch plane for girlfriend trip, a weekend in the Bahamas. This wedding was a showstopper and the behind the scenes Instagram photos look great. If only there was a way to send off a personalized notecard to the bride and groom before she leaves town and include a behind the scenes photo


One of the main concerns we took into the design was how we would integrate the print feature into the existing Instagram app experience. Instagram has a stated philosophy not to let technical innovation come at a cost to the user experience and we used this as our guide. Our decision to introduce the print feature in the photo sharing interaction was intended to create a new branch in the flow that was visible to the user but did not feel like an imposition. Our users stated they were most likely to order prints as gifts so we wanted to focus on providing them with multiple options once they entered the Prinstagram user flow.

Working from the user scenario, we added the features that allow a user to produce a customized picture book from a collection of instagram images and decorate the pages with the instagram social remarks about the image such as comments and likes. We also added a feature for building and sending a postcard. Complementing these features are a list of similarly themed objects that could be added in future iterations of the app.



Validate/Usability testing:
Initial user reaction to PrInstagram was positive and users immediately felt they could trust the feature because of the association with the Instagram app. A summary of the user findings is below. Briefly, the users appreciated the convenience and in-App flow. Stronger heuristics will be incorporated into future versions to assist with in-App navigation challenges.


A. Findings

Initial Findings incorporated into second iteration:

Next Steps: The first step we would like to take would be building out additional gift options and features such as calendars, imprinted clothing and durable goods. This effort will require additional usability testing to determine how well received and understood the new menu of items will be. Alos, future design revisions, the team will carefully balance Instagram's subtle navigational clues with the ‘announcement’ of new product features.

B. Retrospective