Instagram Collections

A Personal Investigation


My goal was to explore the pervasiveness of the “lost screenshot” and create a solution that existed seamlessly inside the current app.


Utilizing user interviews and many iterations, I created a feature that allows users to save and categorize posts within their profile.


We all know and love Instagram, which has been mixing things up lately to upgrade user experience. Fun fact: IG released a similar feature after my investigation called “Save for Later”

1. Screener Survey

A survey was filled out by 22 Instagram users asking them about their habits regarding:

  • frequency of use
  • types of accounts followed
  • taking screenshots
  • exploration habits
  • Pinterest usage

64% of users surveyed took screenshots

91% of users follow accounts other than friends

Interviews were done with seven people who indicated they took screenshots.

2. Data Synthesis

Taking Screenshots

  • Most users take screenshots to access later on
  • Some users only text screenshots to someone immediately
  • All users had a difficult time finding screenshots later on or forgot about them

Instagram Use

  • Most users only use the mobile app
  • Most users follow a lot of brands/artists/celebrities
  • All users "dig" in profiles and comments to find new accounts to follow

Pinterest Use

  • There is a significant overlap between IG and Pinterest users
  • Contrasting with IG, most Pinterest users only used it on their desktop

3. Defining Personas

Emily Serra- Freelance Illustrator

“I can never find screenshots I’m looking for, things get lost in there.”


  • To create mood boards for clients
  • Easily Access recipes she finds on Instagram


  • Follows friends, other illustrators, lifestyle accounts, recipe inspiration
  • Uses social media to connect with friend/family, and also for work


  • Takes screenshots of Instagram posts she wants to remember, but has a hard time locating them again
  • Prints out screenshots of recipes but can barely read them

4. Ideation

Seamless Integration

Instagram has a clean, minimal aesthetic. Keeping with Instagram’s existing UI and user flows was a top priority


When considering the point of access for this feature, I referenced the screener data to approximate demand. I then followed up with usability testing to validate the decision to locate Collections within the user profile rather than the bottom navigation bar.

Initial User Flows

Collections Icon

I tested several different icons to represent collections in the user profile
to see what users’ expectation were of each.

Testers initially liked the ideas of drawers, the reference to archiving implied permanency.

While this icon made sense to users, they also thought of slide shows.

This icon was too similar to the grid system used to display images on many different features.

The Winner!
The stack of squares really hit home with users thinking about the idea of collecting.

Adding-to-Collections Icon

  • The original icon I chose was based on the only on the concept of adding. The initial symbol made users think “download” so I modified after surveying other options for the wireframe.
  • During those tests I realized the button was doing more than just add, so it changed to the “collection” icon used in the profile page.

5. Digital Prototype

Check Out Invision Prototype

6. Next Steps


In it’s current state, Collections are created and edited by only one person. In order to more avidly compete with Pinterest,it could be beneficial to allow users to collaborate on Collections.This currently creates complications with privacy settings

Desktop Evolution

After implementing this feature, I believe it will increase usage of the website as well as the app. The act of collecting motivates people to see their entire collection at once- hence user’s reporting a high use of Pinterest on desktop. There is an opportunity to pursue additional advertising revenue after seeing an increase in traffic.

Unexpected Opportunities

As with most projects, this one held a few curveballs that required a lot of extra ideation, testing, and iteration. I had expected sharing and privacy to be an issue for users,but most weren’t concerned with what changed between business and personal accounts. Instead, users focused on using adding images to multiple Collections, moving between Collections, and the fear of deleting something too permanently.This required some creativity on how to allow all of these things to happen in one location, while using appropriate language and feedback. While I’d love to do more testing, I think these user requests led this feature to creating a more complete experience for the Instagram user.