The Issues With Instagram’s New User Interface

As technology advances and social media continues to evolve, platforms are constantly adding features and changing up their user interfaces to adhere to the needs and desires of their stakeholders. However, society tends to resist change, and Instagram’s new shopping feature has faced a lot of backlash from its users. 

Prior to the addition of the “Shopping” and “Reels” features, the tab bar menu on the bottom of the app included, from left to right, the home button, explore/search page, make post button, recent activity, and user profile. However, the addition of new features made Instagram completely change its menu, making navigation much more confusing, inconvenient, and frustrating for users. The tab bar menu now includes the home page, explore/search page, reels, shopping, and then profile. Because of this, the activity feature has been moved to the top right corner of the home page and the make post button is next to it, on the left. By doing this, Instagram has placed the reels and shopping buttons in the most visible and psychologically convenient place on the screen, so users are inclined to press those buttons based on prior habits. However, this makes it difficult for users to figure out where to see their likes and comments and even how to make a post.

Another significant issue is the Instagram Shop interface itself. Many users mentioned how confusing, crowded, and unhelpful the interface is for their primary motivations. Currently, the interface is in a grid format that is organized by stores. Users can either “Browse Shops” or “See Editors’ Picks” all while adding products to their cart or their wishlist. However, this causes usability issues because it makes it difficult for users to find the products that they are looking for. By organizing the IG shop by store, users might have a difficult time searching for outfit inspiration products they’ve seen on popular influencers. Although the interface has a consistent design throughout, the way the information is sorted makes it unhelpful for users to navigate as they search for the things they want. 

Visibility on this page is another issue. Users are unable to see price ranges so they might be wasting time clicking on stores that are outside of their budget, causing a frustrating user experience. Hidden prices lead to confusion and frustration which impact both the users and the business trying to gain profit. Users are more likely to be misled to stores where they don’t actually intend on spending money, and it also makes it harder for businesses to connect with and be discovered by their intended consumer base. 

While the company hopes that users will adapt to the new layout and learn to use the new features, many are complaining that the addition of Reels and Shop doesn’t actually serve the original purpose of the platform.  Throughout its time online, Instagram has been the app that allows people to share photos and videos with others, providing an environment where users can gain inspiration and expand their social networks. Although the checkout feature offers users another source of inspiration for fashion and other products, many argue that they use Instagram solely for sharing and socializing, not shopping.

From Handoff to Handshake

The handoff process between designers and developers will always be an important topic of discussion in the UX world. Given the difference between methodologies and ideologies, there is often miscommunication and misunderstanding. However, with careful thought and effort, this process can be done well to the satisfaction of all involved. Let’s explore how.



First, focus on consistency and standards. Don’t surprise your developers with new buttons and banners every time you send something over. Rather, ensure quality and consistency across your product by keeping to your brand standards and design systems.



Second, I believe every designer should have an understanding of the work developers do. This will significantly improve communication and collaboration. Being knowledgeable about the time commitment, difficulty, and feasibility of your designs will save you time, money, and headaches.


Open Learning

Third, do your best to solicit feedback from the developers. What ideas do they have? Make it clear that you are open to their input and you want them to speak up if they have suggestions. Be genuinely curious and respectful about learning from them, and in turn they may be inspired to do the same.



Lastly, recognize that the true superpower of engineers is efficiency and learn how to complement that. Designers can take a page from their book and consider ways to balance creativity and productivity. Before beginning a project, designers can carefully consider the best ways to accomplish their goals and ensure they’re in-synch with their friends on the other side.


Improving the handoff process between designers and developers may take time, but it’s a worthwhile investment. It makes a difference to make an effort to collaborate and communicate with your engineering team members. Try some of these tips today, and be on the lookout for better code, conversations, and creations!


Image Source: Rawpixel on Unsplash