Click above to see what time lapse on Instagram might look like.


Adding time lapse functionality for Instagram

A look into my design process from persona to prototype.

*I do not work for Instagram.  I built this feature because it's something I would like to see implemented.  


If you're not familiar with time lapse photography, here is the definition:

used to describe a way of filming something in which many photographs are taken over a long period of time and are shown quickly in a series so that a slow action (such as the opening of a flower bud) appears to happen quickly.

Scroll to bottom for functional prototype.


  • UX Lead
  • Persona Development
  • User Stories
  • User Flows
  • Interface Design
  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping



Who would use this and why does it matter?

Step 1: Start with the Users!  

Always and forever.  If you're designing for people then that's definitely the place you should start.  To do this I created a couple provisional personas.  Meet Samantha & Samuel, two wonderful people with entirely different needs.  

same same, but different. (that lower left box..ew! note to self: draw better)

same same, but different. (that lower left box..ew! note to self: draw better)

Samantha a 22 year old adventurer, blogger, and works at a start-up.  She's creative, loves simple apps, and works 40+ hours a week.  She's always on the go and short for time so she needs simple creation tools that allow her to create new high quality content for her followers.

Samuel a 19 year old male engineer who works constantly and enjoys photography.  He's meticulous and likes to make measured and precise decisions.  He wants to record a stop motion video with IG but hates how he can't accurately determine how many shots he needs to complete the video. In the past, he's spent valuable time to create a video only to learn that he's out of time and cannot finish.

User Stories

The Epic: Users can create time lapse videos in Instagram.

Instagram (IG) currently has limited video functionality.  With time lapse, users could generate high quality content, simply and within the app.

Currently users can record up to 15 seconds of video, then apply a filter, and share.  This additional feature would allow users to:

  • users can create a time lapse video
  • users can set the number of clips (photos/video)*
  • users can set length of each clip (photo/video)*
  • users can set a timer to automate recording
  • users can manually capture each clip


After defining the feature through user stories, I created a task flow to visualize the users movement through the process.  The following task flow assumes that the user has clicked through the app to the record video screen. 

Task Flow


After sorting out the general flow I created some sketches.

2 timer and settings.png

Low fidelity wireframes

After sketching some rough UI screens I created some low fidelity wireframes.  Then I turned the wire frames into a clickable prototypes to begin working through the user stories and subsequent task flow.  


Link to high fidelity prototype. View on web or install onto mobile (iPhone 5 & 5s looks best)

Here's a high level video overview of the time lapse functionality and a sample of what implementation might look like.  Feel free to browse my IG profile @scottandthesea to see some actual time lapses in the app.




Next I would like to run a quick usability test to find major issues.  Then iterate, rinse, and repeat before writing a single line of code.  After it has been built I would like to establish a metric to measure the feature's successful implementation. 

Success might look something like this:

Product: Instagram

Feature: Time Lapse

Metric: % of active users (post 3+ times/week) that create 2 or more time lapses over a 1 month period

Baseline: 1%

Goal: 25% 

By: 8 weeks after feature launch

Let's work together. 

Contact Me