5 no-brainer improvements Facebook should make to Instagram

It’s been six years since Facebook bought Instagram for a billion dollars (which looks like a bit of a bargain now, really). Yet despite having some of the world’s best and brightest working for both brands, some really obvious improvements have fallen by the wayside. So obvious, in fact, that we have to question whether Facebook employees even use Instagram.

Instead of faffing around with the chronology (or otherwise) of the timeline, here are 5 changes we think are long overdue. Got more? Add them in the comments or tweet us @thedigitalfix.

1. Let us upload from the web


Yes, Instagram was built to be mobile-first, but that doesn’t mean it has to be mobile only. It’s deeply irritating that you can’t upload photos from the extremely basic Instagram web interface, not least because there’s absolutely no reason for it. Facebook allows uploads from web, why doesn’t Instagram? Sort it out.


2. Allow posting schedulers


Every other major social network lets you schedule posts in advance using tools like Buffer. This is an absolute godsend for people who manage multiple accounts, or just don’t have time to be glued to their phones 24/7. For Insta, though, it’s a different story: posting schedulers are outlawed by the API. This means the big schedulers can only send you a reminder to manually post your photo. Ugh.

Some enterprising services have gone as far as engineering emulators as a workaround for this without breaking the TOS, but really -- Instagram just needs to get with the times.


3. Autosuggest hashtags


While using multiple hashtags in a post has mostly fallen out of favour on Twitter and Facebook, Instagram exposure still relies heavily on them. But while you can use up to 30 hashtags on a given post, there’s a whole load of disagreement about how many is the sweet spot -- how else are social media blogs meant to keep getting clicks?

Regardless of whether you’re a 2-tag or a 10-tag sort of person, it would be very handy if Insta suggested related hashtags to help you get your stuff seen. When you start typing a hashtag, it’ll give you a dropdown of common ones starting with those letters, with a really helpful count of how many posts used that tag. But that only works if all the tags start the same way: typing #London will suggest #Londoner but not #Shoreditch, for instance.

There are of course third-party services that’ll suggest hashtags for you, but there’s no reason Instagram couldn’t use its enormous store of data to do this natively.


4. Allow swiping


When you first discover an Instagram account you like, it’s natural to want to scroll through their photos. Unlike Facebook and pretty much every other photo-hosting service out there, though, you can’t swipe to see the next post. On mobile, you have to tap to open the photo, then go back, then tap the next one. On web it’s slightly better, with left and right arrows to click, but for the love of everything, let us swipe. Jeez.


5. Let us mute people


Just because you’re connected to someone, doesn’t mean you want to see all their photos in your timeline. For instance, your best mate will naturally expect you to follow her on Insta, but what if she posts 30 cat pictures a day and you’re a dog person? Both Facebook and Twitter acknowledge that sometimes you want to be connected to someone without seeing all their posts, but you guessed it -- Instagram doesn’t. If you follow someone, their posts are coming the heck up in your timeline whether you like it or not. Better learn to love cats, buddy.

What’d we miss? Let us know your frustrations with Instagram in the comments or @thedigitalfix.

Last updated: 22/01/2018 10:24:03

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