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Instagram Tutorials

Case Study

Every day, millions of people across the planet end their day with the same question... WHAT AM I GOING TO DO FOR DINNER?

In this project I aimed to find a creative way to use Instagram’s large user base to help people find, share and experience new recipes from around the globe. This project aims to not only show users how they can easily follow a recipe for themselves but also promotes camaraderie through culture, cuisine and a little fun!

Overall Impact

Created and combined 2 features for the platform; including complete user journeys for each. Set up and conducted multiple rounds of user testing.


  • UX Design

  • User Research

  • Prototyping

  • Usability Testing

The Problem

  • Following recipes step by step on instagram is less than ideal.

  • Users utilize “reels” but it’s problematic when in the kitchen, causing users to constantly flip backwards to see prior steps.

  • Listing ingredients needed, kitchenware, time etc should be improved.

  • There is a massive market being under utilized that will play along with Instagram’s platform.

The Project Goals

  • Add a cooking and recipe sharing feature to instagram using its large user base.

  • Appeal to new & advanced cooks, users who are short on time, have dietary restrictions and want to learn about new cuisines.

  • Make sharing and connecting with others, through food, easy.

  • Spread world culture, cuisine and happiness

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Research Key Insights

  • In todays fast paced world large portions of the population feel like they are pressed for time. 100% of the people interviewed said that they would cook and enjoy dinner more if they had more free time.

  • Todays jobs are demanding more and more from its employees. All users stated that after working a 10 hour day, they felt rushed to get home and do the normal “human activities,” i.e. laundry, exercise, errands etc.

  • If this process could be expedited, by taking away most of the research and reading involved they’d be more inclined to do it.

  • Participants unanimously stated that if directions were more than a paragraph, they were unwilling to read it. Paired with users wanting video guidance leads us to the idea of quick and easy to digest steps instead of a long hand format.

  • Interviewees concern with filters and ingredients availability. It would be nice to start with a protein, something you can buy in quantities and freeze e.g. chicken, beef or fish. Once they have decided on the main portion, they then base the rest of their meal around that.

  • With this filtering option we can expand someones horizons who is currently tired of eating chicken and rice over and over, and show a variety of chicken dishes prepared differently from all over the world.

Creating Empathy

Because the audience for this project was so wide (everyone eats), I felt it was important to try and represent as many people as possible through two personas. They would serve as important reference points for design decisions moving forward.

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A second persona was deemed necessary. What I did not expect was to find that not everyone is as passionate about exploring culture and cuisines. Some users  found cooking to be a burden and just wanted it to be quick and easy.

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Taking a Step Back to Move Forward

Wire Frame Sketching

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Before creating the User & Task Flows I found it helpful to step back and analyze what the users would expect while using this feature.


Because I was having difficulty visualizing their paths, I decided to sketch some wireframe cards which allowed me to move & rearrange  them across my desk manually.

This revealed some sticking points as well as some necessary screens I had missed and would need to include in my later designs.

Now, with a better understanding of the framework & to further understand the users, two flows were created (left & right side) one for the user and one for the poster. This revealed nuances of different points of interaction that could be addressed in this features paths.

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Understanding the Journey & Framework

Branding & Scalability

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During the first round of testing I discovered that users may want the ability to fully edit their videos in the app. For example, what if a user shot content elsewhere, without wifi? 


This small note sparked an idea & perhaps, I was looking at too narrow of a scope for this feature.


What if users wanted more than just recipe sharing and cooking tutorials? What if we could offer them tutorials on a wide variety of things?

Here I deemed it was necessary for World Cook Book to not just stand on its own but be just the beginning of IG Tutorials.

Identifying Points of Confusion

During testing users were able to complete most tasks unaided, however, results did show several key sticking points to be addressed in later development.

  • Iconography

  • Key language & comprehension

  • New tools & making the user understand them

Below the results are broken into categories based on comments and actions from the usability testing.

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Success For The User

  • During testing users were asked to perform tasks first as if they were using the app looking for a recipe, and second as if they were posting a recipe.

  • For users looking for a recipe there was a 100% success rate.

  • However, the posting portion of the test yielded different results...

Revealing New Shortcomings Through High-Fidelity Prototype Testing:

  • Next I asked users to upload a post a recipe using all the editing tools to address if they were clear.

  • Most completed the task successfully but nearly all participants were confused by one of the functions.

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Potential Usability Improvements Included:

  • Improve wording on “Trim Again” function.

  • Iconography

  • Users were confused by the “trim” bar and “add text” bar being the same and had to look twice to see which edit section they were on.

Hi-Fidelity Prototype Testing

After some minor tweaks I again, tested the usability with the hi-fi wireframes. The strategy again, was to have the participants act first as a user (looking for a recipe) then as a post-er (uploading a recipe)

Iconography and wording were to key points that required some work to get correct.

It was important to make the actions obvious to the users but also stay in style with instagrams design system.

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Lessons Learned

Finding Ways to Expand & Pivot


About half way through the project I realized I had been looking at it through a somewhat narrow scope. I began to think about why the users would want the ability to edit their posts in the app. Perhaps they didn't have wifi at the time because they were out in the woods? This WHY question sparked the idea that Instagram users would probably, also enjoy tutorials on other subjects than just cooking, which lead me from Instagram Cook Book to Instagram Tutorials. 

Clarity & Language 


Users all stated that clear wording and icons would help navigate them in their process. This was an area where I was forced to go back and revise several times in order to optimize the experience for the user.

Time is a Key Factor For Everyone 


People, regardless of how much they valued learning and experience different cultures through cuisines, all greatly valued their time. The life/work balance is so competitive now that having quick and easy answers for following and sharing recipes was a major factor when emplementing this new feature.




Finding ways to allow users to customize what they were looking for was a key factor to work out when in the design phase. Although users wanted suggestions they still also had the need filter for themselves.

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