Add a dating feature on Instagram

5 min readSep 13, 2020

During one week, I had the fictitious challenge to take an application that I love and use everyday, and to implement it a new feature.

It’s allow me to see how I can push my creativity as a young designer.

I choose Instagram because I’m an Instagram addict and it is already a very popular application thanks to its features and design.

But how can I incorporate a new feature on an application that has nothing to do with their industry into the existing platform based on user needs ?

I embarked on this new challenge, alone with the ambition to integrate on Instagram a dating functionality based on our geolocalization.

Because who never dreamed to find the social person of this super cute person seen in a bar last night ?

You’re going to tell me, yes ok… but why on Instagram ?

Simply because Instagram is a visual-storytelling application that provides a platform for users to curate and share life’s beautiful and creative moments.

Since 2010, Instagram’s user base has grown into the hundreds of millions, allowing people from all over the world to connect and share moments from their life : it’s the first application to show-off.

Instagram’s goal is : sharing the world’s emotion.


User research and data

I realized some research to find out more about Instagram’s users and in 3 key figures we can say that :

  • 71% of the users have less than 35 yo* : it’s used by millenials.
  • 51% are womens* : it’s a gender equality application.
  • High commitment rate, 60% more than Facebook*.

*Hootsuite, 2019.

And actually, no direct or indirect competitor mixes the both features : social media and dating so we have space in the market to integrate this feature.

Direct and indirect Instagram’s competitors

After that, I conduct some users interviews between 23 and 37 years old, to get better understanding their use of Instagram :

  • What use do you make of instagram?
  • Why do you love this application ?
  • Have you ever used this application for dating ?
  • If you have a magic wand, what functionality would you add?

And I have some relevant insight like :

I already spend a lot of time on instagram, it would allow me to avoid downloading another application.” Vlad, 25 yo

“When I’m on a dating app I will automatically see more pictures of the person on Instagram.” Margot, 23 yo

“If the person interests me after a few msg I send him my Instagram to talk on it, I find it less awkward.” Charlotte, 24 yo

How will we integrate this new feature ?

After some brainstormings and using Round Robin methodology, I chose one solution :

Integrating it directly on the application without being a mandatory functionality, you can choose to activate the dating mode or not and it’s free.

The localization is based on 2 points :

  1. The place where a story is posted.
  2. The place where a picture is posted.

You can find profiles thanks to :

  • A map : according to the place where we published a story or picture.
  • Random profiles : show you profiles that you may have met on all the places where you published a story or picture during the last 24 hours.
    It’s also based on our interests : likes and # that you use on Instagram.

But, those both features are possible only if you use the localization feature when you post a story/picture.

And the profiles are visible for only 24 hours.

To better understand Instagram’s design and put the feature on it, I realized the design system and used the same icons, typography and colors.

I realized mid-fi wireframes and do a usability testing and I had 3 relevant points to improve :

Mi-fi — Sketch

Screen 1 : Not put the feature on the random research feature but directly on the home page.

Screen 2 : Add some titles above the map and random profil, to more understand it.

Screen 3 : Delete the Hello button and just keep the like button : users don’t really understand the difference between both.

Hi-fi interactive prototype.

You can see it in this short vidéo which explains the user flow and the different features.

In this video, sound is indispensable for understanding.

Interactive prototype — Sketch and Marvel

If I have to ameliorate the feature I will :

  • Integrate directly the notifications in the dating section.
  • Improve the “Random profiles” feature for better understanding that you can see several profiles.
  • Remove a few clicks to make.

What I learn ?

I realize that it’s not a “What the fuck” feature, Instagram dating could be integrated in the original Instagram.

The functionality convinced my users and they found it coherent with Instagram, they also found the user experience fluid and well integrated into the existing design.

Like say Etienne, 26 yo : “ If I was single, I could use it.”

So now with this feature it’s over, we no longer need playing FBI agents on all social networks and dating applications : Instagram does it for you.

And last but not least, I have an ambitious statement : if any awesome person at Instagram Engineering reads this, I would love to grab some coffee and discuss the project.