Instagram redesigned its webpage.
Sorry, yes, Instagram has a webpage! It has for a while!
Your main feed is mostly unchanged. It still features one large image at a time, flanked by loads of white space–an awkward amount, to be frank–in an experience that more or less feels like the smartphone app has taken up residence inside your browser.
But the profile page has received an aggressive, spartan facelift. Where there was once a five-column grid and a Twitter-like banner along the top, where a montage of your photos would fade in and out dynamically, there is now no image banner at all. And the five-column layout of yore has been reduced to a new three-column grid with significantly larger images.
The update also brings even more parity with the smartphone app, which the same header-less profile design, and three columns of images below. For accounts like Nikelab, or even this super experimental Instagram magazine, which artfully arrange their Instagram updates to create a visual effect built for a three-column grid, they’ll no longer have that image ruined when someone visits on a five-column desktop.
However, I think it’s about more than just matching the phone app; the new design will cause desktop visitors to use Instagram differently. Before, the five-wide images were just at the breaking point of too small, so that you’d really have to click in to see any details. That meant you’d scroll, click into an image, click out of an image, scroll some more. But now, at 300 pixels wide apiece, most images on Instagram.com feel just big enough to glance at and get the gist. Much like the popular Instagram competitor VSCO Cam, that leaves you scrolling down one big grid of legible images rather than pecking through a collection of thumbnails. Given that we have so much extra real estate in our browser images anyway, why not make the images bigger?
Of course, the conspiracy theorist in me sees another reason that Instagram made these images bigger: Ads. Now, their square photos run as 300×300 content containers–a mere stone’s throw from the uber popular 300×250 ad unit. It’s no secret that Instagram is about to ramp up it’s advertising efforts, and you can see in my feed how that sort of ad could work. (The ad wasn’t posted by Instagram; that’s an ad I Instagrammed a while back because I thought it was hilarious.) Presumably, Instagram’s native advertising would look less tacky. It generally has so far. Hopefully, it would still include grilled cheese.
The updated look has been rolling out to users since yesterday, so it’s likely hit your own feed by now.
[via The Verge]