For most of us, scrolling through miles of our go-to apps has become a daily routine. What tends to bring our social media marathon to a halt is change—more specifically, the rebranding of mobile applications.
Staff Writer: Harman Kang
Even the slightest change of colour can throw users off, so it was no shock when Instagram’s recent makeover broke the internet. The new, simplified camera icon and sunset-coloured backdrop was a huge step away from the classic retro camera. The user interface was also overhauled to include brand-new buttons and symbols, all coloured slightly differently from the previous update and set on a stark, white background.
Countless memes later, it was clear users had not taken a liking to Instagram’s new look. Some claimed the new app icon looked like a camera’s skeleton—one that foreshadowed the rapidly-approaching death of the beloved photo and video-sharing app. A few Sauderites even went so far as to refer to the new app icon as “highly unprofessional” and a “serious downgrade.” But lo and behold, Instagram weathered the storm and did not deter its daily user base of 75 million.
What may come as a surprise is that Instagram is one of the apps late to the rebranding party. Many app designers have chosen to prioritize minimalism, straying from glossy, detailed, and dimensional logos. For example, Snapchat’s latest icon has left its “ghost” expressionless, Twitter has given its bird’s feathers a “trim”, and Facebook’s classic “F” is now less lustrous but freshly futuristic. More and more apps are attempting to rebrand themselves to be more functional and less stylish, adopting minimalist designs to be more consistent with that image.
The backlash that Instagram has received for its makeover is not a representative reaction of all app rebrandings. In fact, when it comes to the introduction of new features, users tend to respond positively. For example, Snapchat’s recent introduction of “lenses”, which allows users to transform into animals, embody famous figures, and swap faces with friends and family, has been a hit. On the other hand, when Snapchat eradicated the beloved “Best Friends” list, that identified which “Snapchatters” interacted with each other the most, its loss was lamented for months.
While Instagram’s app redesign may have been perceived negatively at first, it seems to have been forgotten within a week of its introduction. Perhaps it is safe to say that the introduction, or eradication, of important features cause stronger, longer-lasting reactions from users; however, as seen in apps like Twitter, Facebook, and now Instagram, negative reactions from simple redesigns tend to be short lived. So, while Instagram may have caused short term annoyance in the daily scroll of many, users, as per usual, have quickly adapted to the interface change and continued to post on the #gram regardless.