Tag Archive for ‘Instagram’

Instagram Rolls Out Suggested Posts to Create an Infinite Feed ➝

Nick Heer:

Instagram has been testing this for a while; suggested posts began showing up in my feed earlier this year. It tried something similar about two years ago, but stopped after some time.

This time, the change seems permanent, and irritates me so much that it singularly caused me to abandon Instagram. I signed up days after it launched, and posted often. I love the creativity that it encouraged. But I do not want to see photos in my feed from accounts I do not follow, and there is no way to turn this off.

This feature doesn’t appear to be implemented on the Instagram website, at least not yet. So one workaround would be to visit the site instead of launching the app. You could even add the site to your home screen, which will give you a more app-like experience without Safari’s browser chrome.

But the writing is on the wall. Instagram will only get worse with more features like this being added in the future. I’ve been toying with the idea of taking ownership of the platform in which I publish photos and this change on Instagram only further affirms my interest in doing so.

➝ Source: pxlnv.com

‘Link in Bio’ ➝

Anil Dash, on Instagram only allowing a single link to be shared on their service per account:

But killing off links is a strategy. It may be presented as a cost-saving measure, or as a way of reducing the sharing of untrusted links. But it is a strategy, designed to keep people from the open web, the place where they can control how, and whether, someone makes money off of an audience. The web is where we can make sites that don’t abuse data in the ways that Facebook properties do.

Links take us to places where we can make choices that Instagram never would.

I use Instagram as a way to keep in touch with family members that don’t have Twitter accounts and who I don’t communicate with regularly by iMessage. But I don’t actually like the service and the inability to share links alongside an image is just one of a long list of annoyances I have about the service.

Why isn’t there a native iPad app? Why are they so restrictive on image resolutions and aspect ratios? Why can’t I follow an Instagram account by RSS? And so on.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we all just had weblogs that we used for publishing our ideas, thoughts, and personal photos?

➝ Source: anildash.com

Using Workflow as a Site-Specific Browser

On macOS, there’s an application available called Fluid, which lets you create site-specific web browsers. Many of us use web apps everyday and Fluid allows you to run them side-by-side with your native applications without being sequestered inside of a web browser. Fluid is a handy little tool that every Mac user should have in their arsenal.

I’ve setup a Fluid instance of Overcast on my MacBook Air, complete with a proper icon, which let’s me treat Overcast just like any other Mac application. I didn’t have to wait for the developer, Marco Arment, to build a native app, I can just use Fluid to bridge the gap for me.

Shortcuts to my Site-Specific Browser Workflows

On iOS, Apple has built similar functionality right into Safari. From any webpage, you can tap on the share button and choose “Add to Home Screen”. Most websites have even setup a custom icon for this purpose, making sure their site’s shortcut doesn’t feel out of place alongside your native apps. But it’s not exactly a sweet solution.

Apple does offer developers a way to force these web apps to open in full screen without all of Safari’s browser chrome, but almost no one uses it. This functionality has fallen out of favor because it’s poorly supported by the system. These full screen web apps don’t use Apple’s latest JavaScript engine, which means they run much slower than they would if you visited them from within Safari, and they don’t save state between launches, which makes multitasking with these apps a nightmare.

Of course, you could always just save these website shortcuts to your Home Screen and let them open up in Safari, but that makes for a pretty mediocre experience. I want to treat these web apps like native applications and I don’t want to be forced to close a browser tab when I’m done using them — I always close my browser tabs when I’m done with them, it’s a sickness. But there is a solution and it’s made possible because of every iOS power users’ favorite utility — Workflow.

Site-Specific Browser Shortcuts in Workflow

To build these site-specific browsers, it just takes two simple actions — a URL action with the web app’s address and the Show Web Page action. When run, Workflow will open up the URL in a Safari View Controller, which gives you access to your action extensions alongside forward, back, and refresh buttons. From there you can give the workflow a name, set an icon color, and a glyph to fit the website or web application’s functionality.

You can run the workflow from within the Workflow app itself or you can add it to Workflow’s Today Widget. But if you want the web app to live alongside your native apps, I suggest adding a custom icon in the Home Screen tab and adding the workflow to your iOS device’s home screen. A simple DuckDuckGo or Google Image search for the site’s name and either “icon” or “logo” should turn up several options.

I’ve already built a handful of these site-specific browser workflows and I expect I’ll find more websites and web apps that I’d like to build them for in the future. Here’s just a few of my favorites:

  • Mint, Initial Charge’s analytics software.
  • Media Temple, the site’s hosting dashboard.
  • Instagram, because they still haven’t built a native iPad app.

Instagram in Safari View Controller

There is one major caveat with these workflows — they don’t scale well. You can use them while multitasking with native apps, but you can’t run more than one of these site-specific workflows at a time. Once you launch the second, it tosses out the first one.

You could open some of your web apps in Sidefari with its URL scheme as a workaround — letting you run one web app in Sidefari and another in Workflow. But in my testing, Sidefari often fails to load the web page if the app isn’t already in memory. It happens often enough that this workaround probably isn’t worth exploring. But if you’d like to test it yourself, just replace “http://” or “https://” at the beginning of the URL with with “sidefarihttp://” or “sidefarihttps://”, respectively, and swap the Show Web Page action for the Open URLs action.

But even with the multitasking limitations, being able to run web apps side-by-side with native applications is a neat experience. I hope you’ll find some utility in these workflows, even if you’re just looking for a better way to view Instagram on your iPad.

Instagram Introduces Windows 10 Tablet App ➝

From the Instagram weblog:

In April, we brought Instagram to Windows 10 Mobile. Now, Instagram for Windows 10 tablets includes all of your favorite features, including Instagram Stories, Direct and Explore. And you’ll be able to capture, edit and share directly from your Windows 10 tablet device.

It’s astonishing that Instagram released a tablet app on Windows before an iPad app. This has to be some kind of joke, right?

Instagram Adds Basic iOS Extension Support ➝

John Voorhees, writing for MacStories:

Unfortunately, the Instagram share extension’s functionality is limited. All you can do is add a title to the photo you post to Instagram. There is no way to crop your shot, apply filters, tag people, select a location, or select social networks on which to share your photo, all of which are available in the main app.

This really is a piss-poor implementation, if you ask me. Until they add more functionality, I’ll stick with my Push to Instagram workflow which allows for all of the features that Instagram’s own extension doesn’t.

Instagram Rolling Out Algorithmic Timeline ➝

I was just starting to enjoy Instagram — I hope this doesn’t completely ruin it for me. But I can’t say I’m optimistic.

Designing a New Look for Instagram ➝

Ian Spalter, head of design at Instagram:

Today we announced a new look for Instagram, inside and outside the app. We created a new Instagram app icon and a set of unified icons for Hyperlapse, Layout, and Boomerang. We’ve also refreshed the user interface with a simpler, more consistent design that helps people’s photos and videos shine.

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the new design — the application’s icon looks a little too generic and the user interface feels muddy. But I saw this as an opportunity to try the service again.

I joined Instagram many years ago and eventually deleted my account because, at the time, no one I knew was on the service. Since I left, though, most of my friends and family have started using the service regularly. I’m lukewarm on it so far, but I’ve only uploaded a couple photos and followed a few people. I’m reserve judgement for now.

Why Your Favorite Apps Could Soon Be Black and White ➝

Darren Orf, writing for Gizmodo:

[Khoi] Vinh says that in many ways, a lack of color is just as distinctive as filling up all our screens with an assortment of different hues, except that it doesn’t have the negative consequence of distracting the user from the content. It’s the reason why black-and-white design is so popular among photo apps like 500px. It’s probably not the best idea to have UI fighting for attention with the content your users are creating.

There’s been a lot of talk lately that Apple Music and Instagram could be receiving a design overhaul — removing most color from the interface. I’m not a user of either service, but the screenshots of Instagram’s “design test” look quite good to my eye. If you take a look at this site, though, you’ll quickly realize that I’m a huge fan of simplistic color palettes. I’m looking forward to other application designers following this trend.