Instagram's foray into the photo collage market with its new standalone app Layout is an example of a user friendly experience that completely falls down on features.
Photo collage creation for beginners
Following the success of Hyperlapse in 2014, Facebook-owned Instagram has continued down the road of building standalone apps rather than integrating new features into its core product. The result is that Layout is a photo collage creator that doesn't require Instagram to run.
Layout makes the photo collage creating process easy and straightforward by presenting you with your photo roll along the bottom of the screen when you open the app. This means that, instead of being presented with a blank canvas to fill, you can easily scroll down your photos to chose the ones you'd like to turn into a collage.
Once you've selected your photos, you then choose a grid. Each individual photo can be flipped or turned into a mirror image of itself, as well as replaced if you don't think it works with the layout. Other options include moving the grid lines and repositioning the pictures in their frames, as well as an in-app camera that allows you to take bursts of selfie photos.
When finished, you can save to your photo roll or share via all the usual methods (Instagram included, of course).
Where are all the features?
So, if you're looking to keep the photo collage creation process fairly simple and straightforward with just a few editing options, Layout does a good job. However, if you're looking for an app that has loads of advanced features, which allow you to create a work of art, this is not for you. It may look beautiful and work extremely well, but it's very light on features.
There are no options to edit any of the photos before inserting them into the collages, no filters, backgrounds, borders, video, or music. Basically, it's not a patch on other photo collage makers, although it does boast an attractive user interface.
Not as good as it should be
Layout is a bit of a disappointment. With the weight of Instagram behind it, I expected more from the app. While it may sport a sleek user interface, and allow you to make collages quickly and easily, it just doesn't have the features to compete with other, similar apps. As Layout boasts so few features, it would have made more sense to incorporate collage making within Instagram.