Gone Fishing: Part II

Design Process


So, using the data, I was able to confirm that a feature like this would not only be utilized by a good percentage of the user base but more importantly, that this feature could have positive effects on the mental health of a user.

Next, it was time to start brainstorming implementation. According to the affinity map I made, a critical component for the “Take a Break” feature would be its placement. Plenty of case studies revolve around creating new content or altering the UI, but since I am largely concerned with creating a new feature within the existing settings interface, I had to study how Instagram handles their settings. The idea was to optimize the user flow without messing with the current menu components. Instagram has tried to avoid cluttering its settings up by distributing a variety of categories on the side panel and nesting more technical and user-specific settings inside an aptly named “Settings” category.

A screenshot of a mockup I had where the “Take a Break” feature is nested inside of the main Instagram Menu

I needed to find the right balance between shortening the User Journey and placing it in an appropriate category. For example, I had initially placed the “Take a Break” functionality inside of the Main Settings menu.

It was tempting to keep it here, but realistically, it would not make a great business decision.

After some more exploration through the app and its settings, it dawned on me that there was an existing subsection in the settings that was extremely compatible with this feature.

On the graphic to the left, you’ll notice that there’s a category labeled “Your Activity.” It gives a user a look at their screen time. It also enables a user to configure a notification that is triggered when they have reached their daily screen time limit.

Due to the relevancy of the content type in the “Your Activity” Settings menu, the “Take a Break” feature would fit in seamlessly. Additionally, the “Your Activity” setting resides higher up on the sidebar, so the hierarchy of this menu accounts for the extra click necessary to reach the “Take a Break” functionality.


A video of a prototype of the feature, demonstrating the user journey from selecting the settings menu to accessing the “Your Activity” setting, to selecting the “Take a Break” feature, to enabling it and being prompted with error preventing messages. After completing the process of enabling the setting, they are taken to a screen that gives them to option to send messages or end their break.

Here, we can see the final user journey I decided on. After I determined the ideal location for the feature, it was time to ideate the functionality for the feature.

Like I mentioned before, the biggest challenge was staying true to the design features of the existing Instagram settings. The conventions of the Instagram settings are, for the most part, extremely user-friendly. For example, they’ve made it a point to provide opportunities for error-prevention. Similar to how a user would turn their account public after having been private, when a user wants to take a break, the application will prompt them with an error preventing pop-up. All of these things make sense, and it wasn't very hard to replicate. If I’m being honest, the toughest part of this process was putting myself in the place of a UX-writer.

The entire concept behind the “Take a Break” feature is to inspire and advocate for mental health, but it’s hard to do that with a limited script. I made sure that every time I mentioned taking a break I was empathetic. It’s important to reassure the user that feeling anxious or needing to take a social media cleanse is normal behavior.

To ensure User Freedom and Control, a user that is taking a break will continue to have limited access to some Instagram features. In my research, I found that some users have an account simply to communicate with their friends. Thus, a user can continue messaging their friends, and if a user has another account they would like to continue utilizing, they can simply switch accounts.

Additionally, if a user desires to end their break prematurely, they are very clearly able to do. To uphold consistency and not stray away from the identity of Instagram, I was inspired by the current UI. The screen a user sees after finalizing the “Take a Break” process resembles the UI of the current onboarding process when logging in.

Two pictures; on the left, the profile a normal user will see when visiting a user who is taking a break. They have messaging enabled. On the right, a profile a normal user will see when visiting a user who is taking a break. They have messaging disabled.

We can’t forget that the Instagram ecosystem is full of other, possibly active, users. For this reason, when a user decides to take a break, an active user is still able to engage with an inactive profile.

Inside of the “Take a Break” menu, a user has the option to enable or disable messages on their break. If a user decides to toggle on the setting that they would like to continue receiving messages, active users will be able to do so. They would be reminded of that fact by a message. If a user disables this setting, the message is not present and the button to access direct messages will be disabled, as noted by the reduced opacity and the button losing functionality.

*takes another deep breath*

Hmm, another long post. For those of you who are bored, sorry. Leave some feedback! As for the rest, I’m assuming that if you’ve made it down here you want to see the next part of the case study. Here’s the rest of the analysis:



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