Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Why Reach Navigation Should Replace the Navbar

Brad Ellis (via John Gruber):

Burgeoning screens mean the distance between the navbar and our thumbs has grown. The screen on a 7 Plus is so tall it would take a thumb-length increase of 150 percent to reach those pesky buttons with one hand.


Now here’s where the turn toward Reach Nav gets more apparent. Apple has already started weaning their apps off the navbar. Maps and Music both had structural redesigns for iOS 10 that diminished or removed the need for navbars.

Now both apps use a sheet you can swipe down to dismiss.


Here are some specifics on how to incorporate Reach Nav in your apps[…]

Swiping is often more convenient, even on an iPhone SE. I do this all the time in Overcast, even though I can reach the button.

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The elephant in the room in this discussion is Android's back button. It turns out this is a great solution to the reachability problem.

Whist I also appreciate swipe navigation gestures ("swipe to go back" and "swipe down to dismiss" etc), they have the disadvantage that they are hidden and not easily discoverable. The (Android) back button, on the other hand, is always there and (usually) does what the user expects.

What also concerns me is that because there is now no standard method of going "back" on iOS, the user is going to presented with a plethora of different (and potentially) confusing solutions.

Perhaps Apple should swallow their pride and implement standard, system-wide "reachable" buttons along the bottom of the screen? After all they've copied plenty of other great ideas from Android already (notifications, cards, preference shortcuts etc).

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