The new navigation system sees users tapping the sides of the screen instead of scrolling up and down with their finger to advance forwards and backwards between posts, which can get tiring after a while.
By eliminating thumb swipe fatigue and ensuring the full post always appears on screen, testing tap-to-advance in Explore could get us spending more time on Instagram https://t.co/l2yIHAHUkC pic.twitter.com/Mr0khQQATH— Josh Constine (@JoshConstine) October 11, 2018
It also means users always see media full-screen rather than having to adjust the view with a finger scroll to see the entire post. It's a navigation method that was first used by Snapchat, a platform Instagram isn't shy of taking cues from.
Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that it is testing tap-to-advance in the Explore tab with a small number of users, who were presented with a pop-up in the app explaining the change.
As for whether the system could be adopted for the main feed, a spokesperson for Instagram said that wasn't something it was actively thinking about at the moment.