Instagram is weighing a significant change to its user interface with the global test of two new tabs at the bottom of the homepage: one for TikTok copycat ‘Reels‘ (a format launched by Instagram in the U.S. in August), and another tab for for ‘Shop‘ — an initiative that Instagram launched in July, and which is currently located within the ‘Explore’ section of the app.
The tabs will appear at the bottom of the app, where there are currently five sections: home, explore, camera, activity, and users’ personal profiles. The Verge reports that there are three designs currently undergoing tests — one in which explore and camera are moved to the top right of the Instagram homescreen, near the direct message inbox, and one in which the activity feed and camera tabs are moved to the left of the Instagram logo at the top of the screen.
“We’re gonna get a lot of heat,” Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri told The Verge of the imminent redesign. “Any time we move the tabs around or make some big changes, I expect a lot of really derogatory DMs.”
That said, Mosseri explained that the company is making the changes in order to better assist creators in furthering their livelihoods — be it as video stars within the burgeoning Reels format or from an ecommerce perspective. (Instagram is also constantly changing its interface, having removed a shortcut button for IGTV from the homepage in January — though it still lives on in ‘explore’ and in a dedicated standalone app).
With respect to the latter ecommerce proposition, Mosseri told The Verge that Instagram has previously weighed launching a standalone shopping app, and would still consider doing so down the line. The ‘shop’ tab, as it stands, features collections of products curated by brands and creators, as well as other ways for users to shop via product category, brand, or algorithmically-derived sections. While creators don’t earn a cut of any sales transacted through products they’ve culled together in collection, they can monetize via brand deals.
“Even before the pandemic there was this massive shift of commerce from offline to online — and COVID-19 accelerated that by, I don’t know, half a decade maybe,” Mosseri said.
It remains to be seen when a redesign might be permanently implemented.