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.