Memes @ Instagram

Product design solution proposal

Atul Khola
5 min readMar 23, 2020

We love them, There’s no denying it. We scroll through our social media feeds throughout the day & wait for a good relatable one to crack us up. But what do you usually do when you find an epic one.

I see it, I like it, I save it, I share it… wait whaaat?

We’ve all got one of these once in a while! Haven’t we?

But don’t worry you can view this in 5 pretty simple steps:

😄 Tap on the link & go the account

😊 Send a follow request

🙂 Wait for the request to be accepted

😶 Keep Waiting…

😑 Forget about it because you have a life

It’s pretty inconvenient when you think about it. You couldn’t share what you thought would make the receiver laugh his ass off, you disrupted a pretty smooth ongoing conversation with an awkward inaccessible link that’s certainly gonna cost you your weekend date.

On the other end, you have put the receiver in this uncomfortable position where he/she either has to do all that above-mentioned effort (who are we kidding, unless you are a potential crush but if you are actually reading this, I doubt that 🙂), send you a bland one word-er ‘Unavailable/hidden’ or just fake-lol along.

Either way, it’s 2-way damage, look at this guy. 👇

But why is this happening? Why something that’s supposed to be viral made private in the first place. why would anyone devoid this world of few lols?

You guessed it right, Money 💰
While a public meme may be shared thousands of times, there may not be an incentive for people to follow the account that posted it, and without those followers, advertisers have no guarantee that the marketing they’re paying accounts to share, will actually end up in people’s feeds.

But wait! It has its own set of issues

Private account posts don’t appear in the Search and Explore section. Nor will your posts come up in hashtag searches or a location page, which is not so helpful if you want new followers through content discovery.
Apart from annoying the Instagram community when their posts are shared through messages. 💁‍♂️😡💢

How it all started?

Back in days, Meme accounts used to post really good content, their posts would reach the explore page & they’d grow naturally and organically. All fairy tale-ish. ✨

Until more and more accounts started showing up & they realized they were gaining almost no followers. 🙂

Then there was a strange pattern observed throughout the platform. Meme accounts going private saw their follower counts skyrocket.

& All this because of FOMO, fear of missing out.
People shared memes from a private account with a couple of emojis ( Imma DED! | This is so you! | We be like! | 😁 😂 🤣 😃 😄 😅 😆) with their friends who were likely intrigued and wanted to know what it was & tapped that follow button. This wasn’t a secret for long and soon spread like a wildfire. Soon all the major meme accounts were private.

Basically, It all worked out, but once upon a time.

But times are changing and people are aware of this marketing tactic and very cautious about their followers to following ratio and least motivated to perform all those taps. No one wants to invest in an extra addition in their following number or move a muscle if it’s not worth it.

What they lack is intent and that’s what I am purposing as a design solution.

Introducing ☝️

Preview Account

Currently, any private account’s content can be shared by people as screenshots and screen recordings. So it’s pretty clear that Instagram doesn’t want it to stop, as it’s possible to block devices from doing that on your platform eg. Netflix doesn’t allow you to do either on their application.

So basically if some content is really good & worth sharing

  1. The sender has to take a crazy amount of effort of taking screenshots/screen recording.
  2. The receiver gets to see the content at the cost of messy gallery & lost storage space (also the sender)
  3. The content creator gets no psych appreciation or follows

This is an all loss situation, that’s where ‘Preview Account Feature’ comes in.
With this feature, instead of getting a link to a locked profile every time you receive a post from a private account. You get a 30-sec preview window of that post and account’s feed. If you feel it’s worth it, you can tap on that follow button.

No more screenshots, screen recordings, messy galleries, wasted storage space, missed content appreciation & credits.

But it’ll have certain other aspects to itself.

It’ll be an opt-in based feature, obviously

You can only preview an account once a month

Looking forward to meme-ious future, Let there be LOLs. Hoping this idea gets picked up by Instagram , Instagram Engineering 🤞

Tadaa… That’s all for today.

I’ll be pushing out more case studies soon. Stay Tuned.

Check out the visual case study on Behance, interactions on Dribbble. You can also follow my journey on Instagram. Show some love 👏



Atul Khola

Hello, I am atul khola. I suck at maths, but one equation I never get wrong: Beautiful UI + Efficient UX + Delightful Interactions make a Timeless Product.