Instagram has begun limited testing of a new 'Layout' option in Instagram Stories which enables users to select from a range of presentation styles for their visuals within a Stories frame.
As you can see in this tweet from social media consultant Matt Navarra (via researcher Satyam Sinha), the new option enables you to choose a split-screen grid type for your images, with six different grid styles to consider. At this stage, it seems that you'll only be able to add still images to each grid segment.
The Layout option was first spotted in testing by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong back in August, but now seems to have crossed over to the next stage of beta testing. At that time, Wong also reported that Instagram had been testing a range of new Boomerang modes, which would further add to your creative options.
There's no word on these Boomerang modes being released, but maybe, given we're now seeing public testing of Layouts, they're also not too far away.
On another front, Instagram also appears to be testing a new 'Shoutouts' option, which provides custom templates for birthdays and similar announcements.
As demonstrated in these examples (via @aj_malakai and @blueasyraff) When you add a users' Instagram @handle into the Shoutout field, it then provides a listing of images that the two of you have shared together, from which you can choose one to feature in your update. It could be another way to prompt direct engagement, and tap into the rising trend of more private conversation on Instagram.
There's no word from Instagram on a full launch of any of these tools, but going on past history, you'll likely see more of them in the very near future.