Introducing the Close Friends Post



2022 - 4 weeks
(80 hours)



UX Designer
UX Researcher

Paper & Pen

01. INtroduction

Instagram began as a photo and video sharing app for your friends and family with a mission “to capture and share the world's moments”. Over time this app has grown to roughly 1 billion active users worldwide.



Instagram has been losing traction to their competitors and have been linked to bad mental health in young adults. Therefore, how might we create a feature which reduces anxiety about posting while increasing user engagement?

A new feature which allows users to post private images/videos to only those in their close friends list.

My Design Process

02. Empathize

We want to know users values and their pain points so that we can design an additional feature for Instagram.

What do we need to understand?

1. Understand what attracts users to specific apps
2. Understand what makes users choose this app over others
3. Understand how users’ feel about the close friends feature
4. Identify pain points of users

Secondary Research

Understand the market

Competitor Analysis

Research what the competitors strengths and weaknesses are

1-1 User Interviews

Gain an in-depth evaluation on users' goals, wants, needs, and frustrations


Gain quantitative data on users' Instagram behavior

Research Findings

Secondary Research

- Social media is linked to poor mental health, specifically anxiety, depression, and FOMO (Times).

- Users appreciate privacy, celebrities and regular userss create Finsta's (i.e., fake Instagrams) to share intimate moments with close friends and family (NY Times)

- Social media is killing friendships, broadcasting is not enough, you need one-on-one interaction (Healthline).

-Instagram is the second most downloaded app behind TikTok and has 1.22 billion active users each month.

- 71% of users are under 35 years old

- In the US, 75% are between 18 and 24

- 50.8% of users identify as female

- 59% of adults use Instagram daily for an average of 30 minutes

Competitor Analysis

1-1 User Interviews

Student & Barista:
26, Netherlands

She fears judgement about posting but loves to use Instagram to catch up with friends and family. However, her friends don't post a lot anymore.

"I archived because they were
embarrassing and I was young but I don't want to delete because I like it's funny for myself."

Client Manager:
27, Netherlands

She uses Instagram less and less because she doesn't like to see people bragging. She gets FOMO easily and feels better using TikTok.

"I would literally share whatever with them [close friends and family], if I knew not everyone could see it on their feed""

Opportunity Manager:
24, Spain

She likes to see what others are posting and likes to post herself. She doesn't love the way she feels when using social media a lot. But, she uses the close friends story feature!

"I feel more comfortable posting for close friends because I'm not trying to impress them."

Visual Merchandiser:
23, Netherlands

She is becoming an influencer and spends at least 1hr a day on Instagram. She feels inspired on the app and doesn't care who sees what she posts (sometimes gets anxiety).

"I don't feel a difference between posting for close friends or for everybody"

Survey Results

Please indicate what bests describes you.

Key Takeaways

- Users feel more comfortable with close friends

- Users feel axious on social media

- Most users don't use the close friends feature (yet)

- Most users see influencers post over friends

- 20/25 users feel that there is less pressure to post on their story (2 neutral)

- 13/25 users feel pressure to post on their feed (6 neutral)


Define the scope of the project and its information architecture.

User Persona

Information Architecture

Determine the navigation and informational flow on the website.

User Flow

To show the posting process flow with decisions in mind, the highlighted section is what I contributed to Instagrams flow.

04. Ideate

I started thinking about the layout and design of the website.

Wireframe Sketches

I grabbed my pen and paper and started sketching ideas for the screens based on the user research, then took to my iPad for clearer images.

Mid-Fi Wireframes

I created the beginning wireframes

UI Kit

I kept to Instagrams color palette and layout and added additional icons for the new feature.

High Fidelity Wireframes

From my user flow and 1-1 interviews, I identified key moments in the user journey and focused my efforts on the screens that were most important in the posting process for Close Friends.

05. Testing & revisions

In order to check whether or not the screens work as intended, I set up a prototype in Figma and conducted usability testing to gain insight on the websites functionality.


I created an interactive high fidelity prototype in Figma to test the usability of the website.

Usability Test


1. Evaluate the usability of the Close Friends feature based on learnability, memorability, errors, and overall satisfaction
2. Test whether people choose to post to Feed as well or just to the CF tab
3. Evaluate if participants would use this feature

Test subject

High fidelity prototype for Instagram in a mobile mockup (desktop)


1. You have just landed on the Instagram homepage, you now want to post 1 photo for your Close Friends.
2. Once posted, can you check your notifications and navigate to your post.
3. Can you go to your profile and find the close friends tab.


7 participants: aged 23-31 from across Europe


- 100% completion rate
- 97% error free rate
- 7/7 participants were able to post to their Close Friends

Key Takeaways

- Participants liked the feature
- Add a green star to the notifications
- Add a way to filter for "close friends" notifications
- Add a way to take off from just close friends
- Change some confusing wording, make it more descriptive of what "post to main page" means


I used the data from the usability test (affinity map) to create a priority matrix in order to identify which revisions were high priority and focussed on those fixes first.

The main revisions which were feasible for the time constraint.

Final Design

06. Next Steps

The goal of this project was to add a feature to Instagram that allowed users to post more with ease and get them back on the app in general.

Did I solve the problem?

Well I like to think so, I had a 100% completion rate and quotes from usability participants like...

"I was skeptical at first but this is an amazing feature!"
"I want this to be a feature now!"
"I really like it, it was integrated so well it already feels like it's a part of instagram."
"I love the concept, I would for sure use this."
"It's like combining the phenomena of finsta but just on one account so you don't have to switch."

If I had more time...

I would add various updates to the features

- Close Friends Reels
- A way to view the profile from Close Friends or Public
- A way to change which tabs are visible on your profile

What I learned

Throughout this process, I learned a lot about in-house design. I implemented various user research strategies and designed with error prevention in mind. I also learned the importance of balancing user needs with business goals.

What I would do differently

Next time I will...

- spend less time making various different screens which won't be used in the user flow.
- show my designs often and get feedback