Instagram Overhauls Design: Shop Tab Removed, Reels Moves to Center Spot

Today, Instagram announced a new way to make navigating the app easier: returning the Compose button (the plus sign “+”) to its original spot in the navigation bar at the bottom of their platform. Also, they plan to remove their Shop tab in February. This simplifies things after years of confusing changes made as part of efforts to promote other products like Instagram Shop and Reels.

The Reels button has been relocated to the right of Compose, no longer occupying its favored position.

Instagram’s changes pushing Reels over Compose sparked controversy, as users felt their experience was suffering. In 2020, the Reels tab moved to the middle of the navigation bar and Activity was replaced with Shop. The Compose button and Activity were relocated to a less prominent spot in top-right corner of home screen; Instagram said this would let people access its “expanded suite of products” more easily.

Recently, backlash has grown over Instagram’s departure from its original mission.

Last year, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner protested Instagram’s changes by posting images on their accounts. Jenner asked the company to “make Instagram Instagram again” and stop trying to be like TikTok, while Kardashian echoed those sentiments in her Stories. The celebs were particularly unhappy with the feed pushing video content and recommended posts instead of polished photos that had made them famous.

Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, responded to criticism by assuring users that photos were still a priority. He also addressed the frustration with more Recommended posts appearing on feeds–similar to TikTok’s For You page.

The new design won’t fix all issues, but will provide a simpler experience for those seeking basic photo posting. Plus, by making the Compose button more prominent, users might be inspired to share photos once again.

Last fall, Instagram tested removing the Shop tab from some users’ home screens and hiding it under Settings. At the time, they said it was just an experiment with a few people. The Information later reported that this shift in visibility was due to a change in “company priorities,” according to an internal memo.

The company today clarified that the removal of the Shop tab doesn’t signal an end to shopping on Instagram.

“Instagram remains committed to offering the best shopping experiences for people and businesses, so you can still set up shop through Feed, Stories, Reels, ads – and more!” said a spokesperson.

Instagram is rolling out navigation changes in February.

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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