I joined Instagram years ago and instantly grew to love the app. I loved that it was picture-centric and to the point. I found myself only going on Facebook to look at friends’ pictures so this app just seemed perfect. It avoided all of the unwanted statuses I didn’t feel like reading and focused more on the visual aspect of social media. Then…it got even better.
Friends started creating these collages where it reduced users from uploading multiple pictures one after another, and instead users could make a collage to capture everything they wanted to share in 1 post. However, I had NO idea at first where these collages were being built, I knew this wasn’t a feature that Instagram provided. Luckily from user’s hashtags, I discovered such apps such a PicStitch, Diptic and Moldiv but they could not automatically export to various social media platforms. Because of that, I always wondered when Instagram might implement this feature directly into their platform to prevent users from having to perform multiple steps. Well that time has come….
Instagram finally put together its own collage app, called LAYOUT. According to this article on Mashable, written by JP Mandalindan, Layout is a free, standalone app that merges multiple images into one, very similar to PicStitch. Users can pick up to 9 photos from their phone, whether it be from Instagram directly or from their camera roll, and Layout will suggest up to 10 different collage templates to choose from, depending on the number of selected photos. Afterwards, users will be able to share their collages right from within side the app to various other platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Flipboard, Slack and others. Surprisingly, Twitter was noticeably absent which I found to be somewhat shocking and would be curious to know the reason why?
“Look at the numbers. According to Instagram, one in five active users — at least 60 million people — already use third-party mobile apps like Diptic, Moldiv and Stich to make collages. Simply put, a standalone app keeps users engaged with Instagram features and services for longer periods of time. It also lowers the odds of Instagram users checking out photo apps from competitors.”
What I also found intriguing was that Instagram chose to employ Layout as a separate app and not just install this feature into main mobile app. Instagram product designer, Joshua Dickens, told Mashable the reasoning behind this decision was because they wanted to keep the main Instagram flow simple and complicating the platform with a bunch of new features might deter users. I’m not sure where I stand with this decision. While it may make sense to create several standalone apps to avoid over-complicating something simple that worked, sometimes it’s nice to have all features in one central location. I suppose it comes down to the user’s preference. In any event, we can be sure to expect more collages in our Instagram feeds in the upcoming weeks.