After years of confusing changes aimed at pushing various products like Instagram Shop and Reels, Instagram announced today that it will simplify its in-app navigation.
Starting in February, the company says it will move the “Create” button (the plus sign “+”) to the top of the app’s navigation bar and remove the “Shop” tab entirely.
As a result, the Reels button has moved to the right of Compose and has lost its primary position.
Previous changes to Compose pushed by Reels were highly contentious, with Instagram users believing the company was forcing them to use the app’s new products at the expense of the overall user experience. The Reels tab was first moved to the centre of the navigation bar in 2020 when the popular Activity tab was replaced with the Shop tab. The Create and Activity buttons were also relocated to the top right of the home screen, making them more difficult to locate.
Instagram debuted this new layout in late 2020, with a focus on Reels and the Shop shortcut with dedicated tabs, as well as moving the compose button and the activity shortcut to the top right corner next to messages.
Instagram appears to be shifting its focus away from Reels, with the compose button now located in the centre of the shortcuts bar at the bottom.
Since 2020, Instagram has been competing for attention in the short form vertical video format with rival TikTok, and the company has decided to focus all of its resources on Reels, with the shortcut now located in the centre of the home screen. When you opened Instagram, the Meta-owned app even defaulted to showing Reels first.
Mega-influencers like Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner put a lot of pressure on Instagram to stop pushing video content and instead focus on photos. Many well-known photographers, including Peter McKinnon, have even shifted to photo-focused social platforms such as Vero.
Instagram has now bowed to user demands by emphasising content creation from the bottom, thanks to an easier-to-find compose button. The Reels tab will replace the Shopping tab on the right. The Shop tab was rarely used because people preferred to visit the shops directly from their profiles.
“You will still be able to set up and run your shop on Instagram as we continue to invest in shopping experiences that provide the most value for people and businesses across the feed, stories, reels, ads and more,” said Instagram in the announcement.
The new changes will take effect in February.