“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” (John M. Culkin)
I choose not to use or link to Facebook services, and that includes Instagram and WhatsApp. I do, however, recognise the huge power that Instagram has over some people’s lives which, of course, trickles down to businesses and those looking to “live the Instagram lifestyle”.
The design blog Dezeen picks up on a report from an Australian firm of architects, demonstrating that ‘Instagrammable moments’ are now part of their brief.
I’m all for user stories and creating personas but one case looks like grounds for divorce, Bob is seen as the servant of Michelle, who wants to be photographed doing things she’s seen others doing
One case study features Bob and Michelle, a couple with “very different ideas about what their holiday should look like.”
While Bob wants to surf, drink beer and spend quality time with Michelle, she wants to “be pampered and live the Instagram life of fresh coconuts and lounging by the pool.”
In response to this type of user, designers should focus on providing what Michelle wants, since “Bob’s main job this holiday is to take pictures of Michelle.”
“Michelle wants pictures of herself in the pool, of bright colours, and of fresh attractive food,” the report says. “You’ll also find her taking pictures of remarkable indoor and outdoor artwork like murals or inspirational signage.”
It’s easy to roll your eyes at this (and trust me, mine are almost rotating out of their sockets) but the historian in me finds this fascinating. I wonder if future generations will realise that architectural details were a result of photos been taken for a particular service?
Other designers taking users’ Instagram preferences into account include Coordination Asia, who recent project for restaurant chain Gaga in Shanghai has been optimised so design elements fit in a photo frame and maximise the potential for selfies.
Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger told Dezeen that he had noticed that the platform was influencing interior design.
Of course, architects and designers have to start somewhere and perhaps ‘instagrammability’ is a useful creative constraint.
“Hopefully it leads to a creative spark and things feeling different over time,” [Krieger] said. “I think a bad effect would be that same definition of instagrammability in every single space. But instead, if you can make it yours, it can add something to the building.”
Instagram was placed at number 66 in the latest Dezeen Hot List of the most newsworthy forces in world design.
Now that I’ve read this, I’ll be noticing this everywhere, no doubt.