Here are the insights and approach taken by the engineers at Meta to deploy messaging on the Instagram desktop, in an effort to improve user experience across this interface.
In a new blog post, engineers at Meta explained the approach taken towards developing Instagram messaging on desktop, learnings from desktop users, and experimentation involved to ship the product. the information shared may answer questions of users and professionals.
Initially, Instagram was a mobile-only experience, but it was expanded to new interfaces to add value to the user experience. The desktop web experience is the main alternative to native apps, and the teams at Meta have shared their efforts to improve the user experience.
The desktop web experience adds value to the native apps by enabling a complementary relationship that leads to enhanced user engagement. For example, Instagram observes a complementary usage pattern throughout the day and week, with increased usage of the desktop website during weekdays and daytime hours (6 PM–2 PM), while the native apps see an increased usage during evening hours (5 PM-7 PM) and weekends.
This pattern is consistent with our user interviews which consistently demonstrate that users want to take small breaks while performing tasks for school or work. This analysis also demonstrates how important the desktop web experience is for Instagram business accounts, who often use their personal computers throughout their workdays. Users who use both interfaces spend more time on each interface, compared to users who use each interface exclusively.
Taking into account these findings, the engineers have focused on building products that can enhance the user experience throughout the Instagram ecosystem, including web interfaces. Messaging was a natural fit and one of the most requested features to develop for the desktop web interface based on our user research. Not only did it enable casual use cases, such as messaging from your computer while performing various other tasks, but it also created new use cases geared towards power users, such as the ability to use a large screen and keyboard to reply to hundreds of messages.
When building out the experience for desktops, Instagram took take into account the larger interfaces and the different needs of Desktop web users. Some of the major changes include:
- Improving the UX experience, from badging support and message flows to desktop-centric actions such as drag and drop images
- Adding key missing features such as Presence, Voice Messages, Permanent Camera Messages, Gallery Views
- Support for Creator and Business accounts, and the handling of multiple inboxes
- Changes to the way we handle caching, as Desktop web users expected a more up-to-date experience