Service Portal with an Instagram Feel? Design cues in the social media era

In today’s digital age, user experience is the key. A well-designed portal can drive user engagement and satisfaction, leading to higher adoption and a more successful platform. One way to create a satisfying user experience is to incorporate elements of popular social media platforms, like Instagram, into the design. At the end of the day, most of the Service Portal users are social media users, aren’t they?

Common user complaints about ServiceNow user experience

Service Portals are an essential part of organizations using ServiceNow, but from a user perspective, they can often present challenges and feel simply unpleasant. The most common issue is connected to poor navigation, with not-appropriate labelling and categorization making it hard to find the right information or complete tasks efficiently. Since Service Portal is slowly being withdrawn by ServiceNow it’s worth considering to Employee Center – here you can find out three reasons why you should start the migration.

Image: Out of the box Service Portal

Image: Example of well structured Employee Center

According to a survey by Adobe, 38% of users will disengage with a webpage if they find the content or layout unattractive. Unfortunately, many Service Portals suffer from unappealing visuals, a lack of visual hierarchy, and ineffective use of colour, typography, and graphics. These issues can cause the portal to feel outdated, lowering user confidence in its purpose and functionality. Applying proper user experience knowledge, however, can draw users back in and create an enjoyable, easy-to-follow design.

Discover 7 ways to improve your Servicenow Platform User Experience in >>EBOOK<<

Losing user’s trust

Keep in mind that first impressions matter and most users form an opinion about your webpage or portal in under a second, influencing their decision to stay or leave. If they leave due to a negative user experience, statistics show that 88% are unlikely to return to the site. While users may need to return when the portal is part of their workspace, a poor user experience can compound negative feelings towards your Service Portal.

Many of our clients come to us frustrated by the low usage of their Service Portal, and we see firsthand how this can be directly attributed to poor design choices. A non-intuitive and unhelpful design can make it difficult for users to find the necessary information. If the design is unattractive, users accustomed to more visually appealing sites such as social media platforms may quickly dismiss the portal and its intended purpose.

Jacek Witek, UX designer at SPOC

Low rate of engagement

While the visual aspect is essential, it’s not the only factor contributing to a successful Service Portal. Unintuitive design and illogical user paths can lead to frustration, poor user experience, and, ultimately, low adoption rates. Conducting thorough user research to understand user needs and tailor the design to their specific requirements is essential to avoid these issues. By prioritizing user-centred design, you can increase adoption rates and set your Service Portal up for success.

Image: User-centered subcategorization

Giving up on the service portal

What’s the worst that can happen? Service Portal users in your company who are accustomed to the visual, usability, and accessibility standards of social media may give up on using a platform that doesn’t meet their expectations.

We all experience the same frustration when we enter e-commerce or any other websites that seem unintuitive. We don’t like feeling confused or lost. A tool designed to solve our problems should avoid creating more drama. How many times have you abandoned a cart of products because you couldn’t find the right button to make a payment? The same thing happens when using the Service Portal if it is not designed with UX in mind.

“We have a great tool – people just don’t use it”. Sounds familiar? Watch 3 ways to improve your ServiceNow usability and user experience in our >>VOD<<

Taking design cues from Instagram: best practices for UX in the Social Media era

Instagram is known for its simple, clean, and visually-appealing design. Users love its bright colours, bold typography, and user-friendly interface. Is there any way to translate that successful way of designing and experiencing a digital place into something as serious as a Service Portal? 

The importance of UX design in ServiceNow ServicePortal lies in the power of the tools and features developed to recognize and support users’ needs dealing with complex processes. By providing a user-based approach to building and measuring steps and options, ServicePortal enables organizations to provide seamless, efficient, and effective solutions for their customers.

Jacek Witek, UX designer at SPOC

Image: Simple Service Portal login page designed for visual appeal

Visuals & Colours

There are a few design elements to consider to create an Instagram-like feel in the Service Now Portal. First, let’s focus on the colours. Instagram is famous for its bright and cheerful colour palette, which is a departure from the traditional corporate blue and grey colour schemes. A portal with an Instagram feel would go for bright, bold, and vibrant colours that are consistent throughout the design.

Image: Onboarding portal utilizing vibrant brand colours

Discover how to attract users to your ServiceNow and what questions should you ask yourself


Next, the typography should be clean and easy to read. Instagram’s typography is simple and uses a sans-serif font, making it easy to read on any device. Using clear, easily-readable and visually appealing fonts could be another hint.

Image: Helpdesk portal before a redesign

Image: Typography and visual improvements on the helpdesk portal


Instagram’s design emphasises clarity, visual impact, and instant information decoding for users. One way to achieve the same effect is to simplify the design and layout of the portal, allowing users to scan and find the information they need quickly. As Da Vinci once said: simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Especially when it comes to design! That is why by following the Insta-logic, you could minimise clutter, ensuring that key features and functions are easily accessible.

Image: Instagram’s post in a modal window


What about the effective categorisation of content? Instagram’s design makes it easy to navigate through different content categories, such as posts, stories, and reels. You can apply a similar categorisation approach to your Service Portal by grouping related content and creating intuitive navigation to help users quickly find what they need. An easy way to do it is to use clear and concise category labels and utilise icons and other visual cues to differentiate categories. As a consequence,  portal navigation and finding the information becomes a breeze. This can enhance the user experience and improve the company’s engagement and adoption of the Service Portal.

Image: Example categorization in an Employee Center portal

Image: Example of how categorization looks on Instagram

Service Portal for millennials

The Instagram platform has become an undisputed visual design and user experience leader. With millions of users and a highly engaged community, it is no wonder that Service Now designers are looking to incorporate the same “Insta-feeling” into their designs.

By taking a cue from Instagram’s design clarity, easy way of scanning and instant information decoding, Service Portal can become a user-friendly platform that is focused on visual impact. The benefits of an “Insta-style” ServicePortal design are clear: users engage with the portal more happily, and the portal can become a more integral part of their daily routine, especially if your target group is millennials or generation Z.  This increased engagement can lead to higher usage, better ROI, and a more satisfied user base.

At SPOC, we have seen first-hand how an “Insta-style” Service Portal design can make a difference. By incorporating Instagram’s design elements and user experience into our Service Now portals, we have noted a significant increase in user engagement and adoption. So, if you are wondering if an “Insta-feeling” is possible on your Service Now platform, our answer is: yes, it is, and it can become very profitable for your organization. Let’s do it together.

How to attract more users to your ServiceNow? 

User-friendly and intuitive Service Portal

So you invested in ServiceNow, created a Self-Service Web Portal and Mobile App for your users, but the interest is low. What now? You need to improve your ServiceNow perception internally and make sure that the platform is optimized to your needs. A successful interface translates into less frustration, fewer errors, a more user-friendly approach and an increased number of users. These 4 basic questions can help you find the cause of your problems. 

Is my ServiceNow portal user-friendly? 

A user-friendly portal is a key to self-service. What does it mean? Portal needs to be up-to-date, simple to navigate and visually attractive. Take away everything unnecessary for your users. Focus on the User Interface and User Experience of the Portal. Make it intuitive. By focusing on the end-users from the start, you commit to Design Thinking principles.  An example? What often fails is the navigation – check if it aligns with your customer’s needs. Never try to put too many categories or information on one page, but rather lead users to what they are searching for. Check if you have the ways to navigate back to any previous page and make sure that the paths are intuitive.  

Source: SPOC
Source: SPOC

Does it reflect users’ needs? 

You need to make sure that your portal looks appealing to your target group. Does it reflect the company and the user needs? Take into consideration how your users work and what they appreciate. Customize your portal or app to the company and users’ needs. When it comes to banal orders, like getting office supplies, the process should be as straightforward as possible. No one will want to spend more than several clicks and a few minutes for that kind of request – otherwise, it is easier to write an email, and we miss the point. An essential part is adapting to the devices preferred by most users – is it mobile, laptop screen or desktop? Let’s not forget about those unfamiliar with technology – the more simple, the better. Keep in mind what your users need from you to prepare a successful interface they will want to work with.

Source: SPOC

Is my ServiceNow platform  mobile-focused? 

Non-mobile-friendly design can lower your statistics. Google says that even 48% of users are frustrated and annoyed when the site they are using is not mobile-friendly, and more than a half of them will not engage with the page. While building your Self-Service Portal or Mobile App, you should focus on a straightforward and user-friendly mobile interface for a better experience. Service Portal works pretty well on mobile devices since it has a built-in responsive layout. But it can be optimized for mobile use, making sure that the layout and widgets are used to deliver the best possible experience on any device. What should the mobile-focused design look like?  

Knowing what your users want and expect from your product is the most important part of creating a successful service. If you adjust your mindset to this knowledge and make it a priority you will save everyone’s time and frustrations in the long run and simply make a better product. 

– Jacek Witek UX/UI Designer

Source: SPOC

Do my employees know how to use it? 

Employees resist new tools due to several barriers. It takes time to adopt a technology. Among the main reasons behind it, listed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, is a lack of awareness. When the Service Portal or Mobile App is ready, you need to ensure that everyone is on board. How to do it? Start with clear, regular communication to your users. Make sure that it is also well-designed and distributed strategically. The right layout for your communication, an awareness campaign, done with marketing support is a first step to spread the news and encourage your audience to use the portal. 

ux design
Source: SPOC

How to increase my ServiceNow platform’s UX? 

You may find it difficult to analyze your Service Portal objectively. You see it every day, working with it, so you are used to it the way it is. But an external expert can help you understand what is missing and what needs to be changed. You need to find a trustworthy partner with the right experience to ensure that your ROI will increase and the end-users will be pleased.

If you are interested in this topic, be sure to download our ebook. A gigantic dose of knowledge and practice on 40 pages.