TBH, I think Instagram's new Snapchat-clone feature, "Stories", is pretty good. There was a little bit of skepticism at first, but now that it's been out for two weeks, people seem pretty into it. It's fun to see people use Instagram in a more loose way without the pressure of feeling like you have to pick the perfect image for your feed. And Instagram has a big advantage for me over Snapchat stories: I follow way more people on Instagram already, so its stories are more fun since it's a weird mix of people: celebrities, friends, randos, weird funny accounts.
But there is one thing that is FAR FAR FAR inferior to Snapchat:
It sucks for lefties.
I'll explain: One of the cool features on Instagram stories is that you can easily go "back" to re-watch the previous person's story as you're tapping through. Snapchat doesn't let you re-watch as easily – you have to go back to the homescreen and pick out the person you want to see again.
This maneuver is accomplished by tapping on the left-hand side of the screen. Left side tap means back, right side tap means forward.
A lefty tends to tap on the left side, which is "BACK":
And herein lies the problem. If you're a lefty, you're more likely to be holding the phone in your left hand, tapping with your left thumb.
Since the left thumb is naturally closer to the left edge, you're used to doing most general scrolling or tapping on the left edge. This means that you're constantly accidentally hitting "back" and having to re-watch stories you don't want to see again. If you want to go forward, you have to stretch your thumb across the screen, obscuring the visuals, or use another hand.
On Snapchat, you can only skip forward, but you can tap anywhere you please on the screen to skip ahead — no problem for lefties.
Plenty of everyday objects have been inconvenient for the 1 out of 9 of the population who are lefties: can openers, spiral notebooks, school desks, scissors. We've learned to adapt (maybe that's why we're so much smarter).
Technological devices have added a new layer of inconvenience. Basic things like computer mice are designed for righties. Certain devices have their own built-in bias: Kindle Paperwhite wants you to "turn" the page by tapping on the right side of the screen (left is "back"). Only older models are ambidextrous page turners. I mean, it's FINE, you can still turn a page, but it's far less comfortable and convenient for someone who wants to mostly hold the device in their left hand.
And the Kindle app for iPad also has the same page-turning bias:
Look, it's not like lefties can't use Instagram. This isn't life threatening or dangerous or anything like that. Accidentally hitting "back" a few times while thumbing through your friends' pics isn't the worst thing in the world.
But left-handed people account for 1 out of 9 of us! For a service like Instagram with an estimated 500 million users, that means something like 55 million lefties are now accidentally bonking the "back" button on Stories.
Product designers and user interface designers should be considering left-handed users when they're designing these new features.
Listen up, Instagram: we demand lefty rights!
Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture and is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
Contact Katie Notopoulos at email@example.com.
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