Instagram tests new home screen with tabs for shopping and Reels

The Facebook-ification of Instagram continues.

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Karissa Bell
September 9, 2020 1:25 PM
11 February 2020, Berlin: Influencer Diana the Lion opened her Instagram profile on her smartphone at the launch of the EU's klicksafe initiative on Safer Internet Day as part of the SaferInternet campaign. To raise awareness of the issue of internet safety for children. Photo: Jens Kalaene/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images)
picture alliance via Getty Images

Instagram is testing new layouts for its home screen that add dedicated sections for shopping and Reels. The company shared three new designs that “represent how people are using the app and giving extra love to creators, videos and shopping.”

Instagram has been testing a similar layout in India, Brazil, France and Germany — countries where the company said it was seeing “momentum” with Reels. But the latest test is the first time Instagram has also pushed its shopping section to a wide swath of users. 

Instagram is testing three new designs for its home screen.

Each of the new looks is a little bit different, but all three give Instagram Reels and shopping prominent placement while moving around an existing section (or two). In one of the new layouts, Reels replaces the Explore tab while shopping replaces the “activity” section (both Explore and activity are moved to the top right corner of the app, next to the inbox).  

In another variation, Instagram crams all six shortcuts — home, Explore, Reels, Shop, activity, and profile — into the bottom row while the shortcut for creating a new post moves to the top right.

If it sounds like all this is just making Instagram more confusing... you’re not wrong. As Instagram As Facebook’s influence over Instagram has grown, the app’s navigation is starting to look a lot more like Facebook’s famously bloated app. 

These kinds of updates have also been unpopular in the past. When Instagram added an IGTV shortcut next to the inbox, users freaked out and then promptly ignored it. Instagram dropped the shortcut earlier this year — perhaps to make room for Reels and shopping.

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