OPINION: Instagram’s Newest Update Raises Eyebrows with Busy Interface of Icons


Jimmy Carroll

The latest Instagram update is too busy and is not user-friendly. Graphic by Hailey Stessman/The Gateway

Instagram has been a hot entity for the last few years for those wanting to show off the best pictures, filtered and unfiltered. The social networking app has undergone many updates that allows users to be super creative, however, the newly updated app looks busy, with more buttons in more places.

The favorite social app was released during October 2010 with photo sharing as the focus. The most well-liked photo ever on Instagram is a picture of an egg with over 54 million likes. As of October 2015, over 40 billion photos had been uploaded and shown to the world. As of the last couple years, the company has made several new endeavors like Instagram Live, Instagram Stories and Instagram TV (IGTV), all of which are a huge hit.

Currently, Instagram displays five buttons on the bottom of the screen. The most recent update includes Reels and a Shop button. Reels is a new way of creating short and entertaining 15-second videos. The Shop button allows users to discover and buy from brands and creators they love. The only other difference from this update is the Post and Like button are together in the top right corner.

Being a journalist and social media guru of sorts, I believe that Instagram is trying too much. Simplicity of an app is what matters. Yes, I get that keeping up with culture is critical to a social networking app, but my goodness, the amount of buttons. Furthermore, a Shop button was added to the app for those who prefer to buy directly. A business insider article says the Reels platform was “basically the same as competitor TIkTok.”

It has a somewhat clean look to it, but I prefer apps with a simple interface with fewer buttons. Don’t get me wrong, the Reels and Shop aspects of Instagram are really nice.

“The basis of the recent updates is adding new features for marketers to explore,” said Katie Sehl, a writer from the Hootsuite Blog.

Those who have used Instagram since its beginning may not disapprove of the new updates and the plethora of buttons, but, in my opinion, simple is better. It’s just a lot to look at. Furthermore, Instagram is owned by Facebook and Facebook doesn’t even look this rough to surf through. I could have a whole other debate about Facebook’s interface. Nonetheless, Instagram appears to have gone overboard with the amount of options.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri said on the new updates: “We don’t take these changes lightly; how people create and enjoy culture has changed and the biggest risk to Instagram is not that we change too fast, but that we don’t change and become irrelevant.”

Instagram went solely from a photo-sharing app in 2010 to what looks like a shopping mall in late 2020. The more technology evolves, the more the younger generation will be trying to figure out new things about social media and networking apps. Instagram, nice try. No matter what, I am still using the app – just gotta get used to the amount of buttons. And possibly a shopping spree.