Instagram vs Snapchat stories: Will they ever win us over?

September 1, 2016

We ask what happens when a globally recognised app takes on another app giant?

We may be slightly late off the mark, but debate over Instagram vs Snapchat Stories is still dividing smartphone users. There is no denying that Instagram Stories are pretty much a carbon copy of Snapchat’s story feature, even the CEO of Instagram admitted that Snapchat ‘pioneered’ the format. Combining core functionality of two hugely successful apps, also leaves questions over the direction of app marketplace.

Just like Snapchat, Instagram Stories allow users to upload stories and videos into a 24hr slideshow, that can be viewed by followers. The general consensus seems to be, Snapchat reigns King, mainly due to their extensive dynamic filters and popular face swapping feature - yet to be included in Instagram stories.

From a UI perspective, Instagram only recently decided to revamp the layout of the app. The move towards a stripped back white background, hollow icons and new optional white borders were introduced to focus the user’s attention on the image. Our in house design team were horrified to discover that the introduction of Stories, across the top of the home feed has cut off the initial post on the home feed. The recent UI update had been successful in minimising distraction from posts, but the story bar seems to be a step backwards from this. Not being able to remove the bar is equally infuriating.

However, on the design front it is not all doom and gloom - the changing colour of the circles to indicate whether you have watched a story or not is pretty cool.

Like Snapchat, Instagram users can directly message someone from their story. But, this seems all seems oddly un-Instagram, where are the traditional like or comment options?

Instagram are obsessed with video, from their discover page to the addition of Boomerang - they too recognise today as the video age. Maybe, like the rebranded logo people will begin to warm to Instagram Stories. But it is difficult to tell whether Instagram will have the power to demolish Snapchat, it seems unlikely as the Snapchat brand is so huge and teen appeal so strong.

But it leaves questions over how the increase in cross functionality and copycat features will affect the future of app development. As Instagram jumps ship to catch up with Snapchat there is the risk that the app will lose what made it unique in the first place. Does this mean that the App Store of the future, will be an indistinguishable group of apps that all serve the same function with the same features? With everyone wanting to build the next Uber, or in Instagram’s case the next Snapchat - what is next?

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