Instagram’s New Design 2020

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Instagram brings its TikTok rival Reels front and center in an updated version of the app by awarding it the center spot on its new navigation screen. The update of Instagram’s new design, which comes today, also replaces the Action tab (heart icon) with the Shop tab, following a test that updated this feature of the app’s home screen earlier this summer.

In the updated interface, both the Compose button and the Task tab have been shifted to the top-right corner of the home screen, while the middle center button now belongs to Reels.

Previously, Reels’ videos were combined with other pictures and video material on the Instagram Explore website, while Instagram started experimenting with new layouts this fall (see below).

This led to some early feedback from users searching for Reels in the app, who said it was harder to search, says the firm. The update, which makes Reels the key button in the app, is an ambitious effort by Instagram to direct users to its short-form video feed, which has so far seen only a lukewarm reaction from critics. Critics said that Reels lacks competitive functionality, adds to Instagram’s bloat, sounds outdated, and features a lot of recycled TikTok content.

Three designs to make room for Reels

Three designs to make room for Reels

A shameless clone

At most the clone is considered a shameless clone. Instagram, on the other hand, would argue that it’s still early days for its short-form Reels video in its app. And, considering the high-profile status of the commodity, the move might inspire more artists to post their Reels. That said it cannot be understated how necessary it is to shift the Compose button to an app that relies on user-generated content.

When tapped, the Moved Compose button will now also take users to a redesigned Camera experience. Here you can either select images or videos to add to your Feed or scroll over to choose to post to your Story, Reels, or Live. Although this doesn’t substitute the swipe motion to get to the camera, it does make all the various post formats more equal.

Next to the updated Compose button is the Moved Action button (heart icon) and the redesigned Messaging button that takes you to your Instagram DMs—now linked to the Facebook Messenger universe. The message button itself has been modified to appear like the Facebook Messenger icon (for those who opted for the new experience) and not the paper aircraft icon that was formerly synonymous with the Instagram inbox. Another big change is that the Instagram Shop wins home screen positioning.

Posting of Content (Selected)

While the current flow is adequate for most users, business accounts seek to maximize their impressions, engagement, and reach. More tools should be integrated to help increase these metrics and make it easier to do so.

Direct Messaging

Posts are used to attract followers, but through DM’s the connection is stronger. Instagram’s current system is incredibly simple compared to other messaging apps and has room for more functionality to facilitate different actions.


The audience that engages with the stories of the account does so on a daily basis and is, therefore, more closely connected. More action items in stories can allow accounts to benefit from a strong level of public engagement.

Instagram's new colourful icon

Instagram’s new colourful icon

The story of Instagram’s new design

The company started exploring the Store tab instead of the Operation tab in July, where it will direct users to a revamped version of the Instagram Shop. Here, users may filter the products they followed on Instagram or the product category. And in many instances, users may be able to pay for their purchase using Instagram’s own checkout tool, which requires a sale price.

You can also download Instagram videos using our tool.

Technically done, Instagram’s new design

Instagram’s drive to make the platform more an online shopping hub with this and other improvements comes at a crucial moment for the e-commerce industry. According to some analysts, the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the transition to e-commerce by at least five years. That means that any plans Instagram had to become a major player in online commerce had just been speeded up as well.

Instagram’s new algorithm sorts out by engagement rather than chronologically. Posting content when online traffic is highest will allow higher printing levels. This, in turn, will help to boost engagement and reach. Scheduling posts will provide accounts with the ability to target specific times windows as well as the flexibility to create posts when it is most convenient and queue up several times in advance.

Using AI, Instagram can suggest popular hashtags that would be most applicable to content-based posts. Hashtags are a proven way to discover content by a new audience, and with a new ability to follow hashtags, some tags are more useful than others.

Account tagging is a way to gain impressions as well as the attention of larger brands. Tagged accounts often help to promote the original content.

Reposting is a feature for which accounts often use third-party apps. While the original poster is credited to these apps, the engagement belongs to the reposter.

Allowing native posts and comments will enable greater control of accounts that have the capacity to exchange their content as well as reap the rewards of reaching new audiences through reposting account followers.

In conclusion

The Instagram app is pretty conservative with a major interface or functionality shift relative to the main Facebook app. Big redesigns like this don’t happen much and usually, it’s fairly sparse on functionality (seemingly simple items like desktop DMs have just been introduced this past winter). This was all there was about Instagram’s new design.