“For the last 15 years, we’ve built Facebook and Instagram into digital equivalents of the town square, where you can interact with lots of people at once. Now we’re focused on building the digital equivalent of the living room, where you can interact in all the ways you’d want privately — from messaging and stories to secure payments and more.” – Mark Zuckerberg.
Here are a few updates from the conference on how the user experience will be improved over the coming year:
Facebook Groups and events– Facebook will concentrate on groups and events, the private ways of interacting on the platform. This is Facebook’s attempt to go from a public channel to a private platform with a focus on more meaningful conversations and interactions. General updates from friends that you hardly know are being replaced by important, detailed communication with close contacts.
Instagram Stories – Withmore than 500M daily active users, Instagram Stories continues to grow. Due to the popularity of this function, the platform has released a suite of new features to make communication easier and more interactive. New Camera & Create Mode, is a simple way to share content without having to take a photo or video. This new feature allows you to use popular creative tools like effects and interactive stickers with no need to take a photo first. The platform now also supports a donation sticker as well as direct shopping – you can simply tap to see exactly what your favourite creators are wearing and buy it on the spot.
Goodbye Instagram Likes? – Even though the Like totals would still impact how the algorithm ranks a post in the Instagram feed, if rolled out, this change (that is being tested in Canada) would refocus Instagram’s content on self-expression instead of being a popularity contest. It will put focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get. This is a great attempt to put the focus back on the content, users will still be able to see how many likes their own photos get, but the number won’t appear at the bottom of each post.
Virtual Reality– Facebook released two new headsets in this category (the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest), showing its desire to play in this space. The Quest uses cameras to track the wearer’s position in the real world but comes with the more accurate controllers found on the Rift. The Rift which still requires the wearer to be tethered to a high-end gaming PC but offers far higher-quality graphics than the Go or the Quest.
It will be really interesting to see if they really can remove ‘likes’ from Instagram. It is definitely a step in the right direction, quality over quantity, content over popularity, meaningful connections over vanity. It is exciting to see that the user experience is being made quicker and easier with the addition of direct shopping and more meaningful connections are being explored with focus being directed to those conversations that you actually want to be having.
By Corrine Chiswick, Social Media Director