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App Navigation

posted May 1, 2015, 1:38 PM by Jeff Harward

We've previously discussed the importance of designing your app with instant user engagement in mind. App designers have created a number of ways to put users in the useful part of the app immediately. Good app designs have reduced nested menu systems in favor of of flatter navigation tools like tab bars and side bars.

Since Facebook implemented the side drawer navigation model a couple of years ago, hundreds of apps have followed suit. The "burger" icon is becoming more and more common in app design.

Apple, on the other hand has stuck with it's tab bar navigation controller on most of it's own apps, like iTunes, iTunes Connect and Photos.

So which navigation tool is right for your app?

If most of the user experience takes place in a single view and it’s only things like user settings and options that need to be accessed in separate screens, then keeping the main UI nice and clean by burying those in a side menu is the way to go.

On the other hand, if your app has multiple views that users will engage with somewhat equally, then side navigation could cost you a great deal of your potential user engagement. In this case, some kind of ever present navigation bar is a better bet.