Last month Facebook’s photo sharing product Instagram released a new video feature. Users can now upload 15 seconds of video edited with fun filters. The news of Instagram’s video release created quite a bit of buzz as it was encroaching on the territory of Twitter’s video sharing product Vine.
Vine, released earlier this year, had gained quick popularity for allowing users to share 6 second looping videos to their followers. In the spirit of the never-ending Facebook versus Twitter war, users quickly took to their feeds to post their allegiance to their preferred product. For me the obvious winner in this battle is Vine.
My decision isn’t based on features and video length preference but instead on innovation and focus. Vine saw a void in the social sharing space and created a unique product to fill that void. Although I can commend Instagram for their efforts (their recording and editing options are easier to use than Vine), they lost focus on their core competency (usability!) and it has affected the user experience. Scrolling through my Instagram feed use to be an effortless stream of beautiful photography. The new addition of video now makes it feel weighed down, noisy, and has discouraged me from checking it often.
Although it is important to always evolve and grow, your efforts will fall short if you lose sight of you’re good at. Instead of running to create direct replicas of your competitors’ offerings, fine tune your existing products and services to better serve your clients. Further, if you have in fact decided to branch out, don’t rush to release your product until you have done thorough user testing. Ticking off your customers might mean end credits for you.