Android users: can I get your opinion on navigation?

Do apps with iOS-style buttons along the bottom feel alien to your user experience?

After having designed the UI for an iOS version of an app, I am in the process of designing one for the Android version. I am relatively new to Android, but I am up to speed on the navigational design patterns as defined by Google. The main point is that the “bottom icon & text” navigation style is more of an iOS thing and that primary navigation for the Android is supposed to be via a “upper left-hand corner 3-Line icon.”

So I’m weighing several criteria — good, predictable user experience for users, app consistency across platforms — and am wondering if you’ve ever seen iOS style navigation on the bottom of your screen (like Instagram does) and does it feel like it’s an “alien experience” or in any other way negative?

Link to a PDF on my Dropbox account

It certainly is alien going between iOS and Android. My phone is Android, but using my wife’s iPhone or iPad is frustrating to me, mainly because it lacks the standard back button as a hard-button. I have to look at the iOS apps to see if they have a back button. That seems like asking web page developers to include a “back” link on every page, instead of having a back button built into the browser.

When we design Android apps the “Up” button is different than the “Back” hard button. “Up” is designed into the app to take you to the home page or starting location. That’s not what you mean about the upper left three-line icon, is it?

Frankly I wonder if cross-platform compatibility is that important, or at least as important as being consistent with other apps within the platform. It seems like people stick with iOS or Android and don’t mix their devices that often. As an Android user, I find it more intuitive, since the three hard buttons are always there (although Samsung swaps the back and app manager locations).

We’re certainly incorporating the “Up” functionality and leaving space for the “Back/Home/Apps” bar at the bottom.

I don’t know that you answered my question specifically, though — does it feel foreign to have primary navigation icon buttons along the bottom of the app (but above the “Back/Home/Apps” bar) on an Android device.

Yes, yes it does feel foreign. Very easy to spot those apps that were originally iOS apps then ported to Android. Android users are very accustomed to the “hamburger menu” which is the aforementioned 3-line icon. Plus, Android has a dedicated back key, whether it be soft or hard. iOS style navigation in Android, to me, does seem very alien.

It does feel alien. It also seems like a waste of space. I’m Jane Q. Public Android user and I like the three-line bar with the majority of options in a menu when I click on it, but if that’s not possible, I’d rather have the buttons at the top. Like in the Instagram example, it looks so clunky at the bottom but move them somewhere to the top, like under the logo, and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. And it would still be the same space.

In any case, I’m happier with less crap on the screen and all my options in the three-line icon.

I hope this answers your question. :slight_smile:

Is this why sometimes when I pound on the back key in an app, nothing happens? It’s probably a ported iOS app? That makes a lot of sense. I’m so frustrated with my MP3 app that I didn’t check out well enough before purchasing.

Very much, thank you!

Oh, is that why some apps have buttons there. No, it doesn’t bother me, but I do like the back key to work.