Instagram is looking like they will test a new feature that allows users to choose whether they want to view the app in a full-screen display or keep it as the traditional Instagram feed.
The new full-screen option is more or less a replica of how TikTok present their content. The display will incorporate standard posts, Reels and Stories into a single, full-screen feed to allow users to easily consume all types of content at once (with more obvious preferential treatment being given to video content).
See the original announcement and layout preview released via Mark Zuckerberg’s Instagram:
If you’re reading this, we can assume that you are familiar with the traditional display (if you’re not, simply open your Instagram app right now to take a look). Features include a clear separation between posts, different content feeds clearly separated and photos still featuring prominently along with being framed correctly.
Now, according to a discovery by app researcher Radu Oncescu, Instagram is testing a new feature that will give you the choice of whether you want to stick with the Instagram you are familiar with, or if you would prefer to have the full-screen experience.
Seems like a straightforward update, right? Sure, but the intriguing thing about this is that it comes after Instagram already tried to force this change upon everyone. Earlier this year Insta trailed the full-screen display to certain users and was met with a huge amount of backlash, prompting Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri to announce that they would rewind the changes.
The question now is if this is an indication of Instagram moving toward a platform that is more controlled by the user, or if they still have intentions of rolling this out as a mandatory feature and are just slowing their role a little bit to avoid such fierce backlash for trying to change too much too soon.
The major criticism of Instagram lately is that they are trying to be too much like TikTok by making large hasty changes to replicate their competitor and hopefully nullify TT’s growth. The public perception is that this is a panicked move from Instagram, while Mosseri insists that they are simply following the user data and making updates to suit the ongoing trends.
By giving users more capabilities to control their app for a more personalised experience, Instagram will not only silence some of the backlash but will also generate some indisputable data on what users actually want, and potentially a leg to stand on when they continue their push towards taking back the slice of market share that has been stolen by TikTok.
Keep an eye on your app – it is unknown how long until Instagram will roll this feature out to all users.