Android 101 Tips

What is the Android Navigation Bar?

Android Navigation Bar

Many things individuals study while using iOS might be transferred instantly once you transfer over to an Android system. The Navigation Bar, though, is something that iOS (and other people new to to the platform) should adapt to. It’s not troublesome but it could actually take some time to get used having those software program buttons (and now gestures) obtainable.

Some customers of function telephones could also be used to having a button that takes them again. Some will even let you press a cancel button to go back whereas others would take you again to its House Display. For this reason the straightforward and single House button that iOS has is so nice for brand spanking new customers.

It’s only one button and if you give it a single press you recognize exactly what to expect.

Android’s Navigation Bar is Easy but Presents More

I want to get into the history of Android’s navbar but I’ll save that for the top. First, I need to be sure that everyone is aware of what the navigation is for and why Google chose to go together with three buttons as an alternative of only one. See, the original Android smartphone (and its OS normally) was made for the computer fanatic.

It was made for somebody who needed more than just a walled backyard. It was made for someone who needed to vary things inside the OS in the event that they needed to. It was clear that Google needed to increase the audience nevertheless it was these core ideas that initially shaped the best way Android features.

It’s why we will sideload apps. It’s why we will have apps operating in the background.

This stuff just weren’t potential (with out jailbreaking the gadget) on an iPhone back then. iOS went with the “it just works” concept whereas Andy Rubin and the parents behind the core imaginative and prescient of Android needed an open working system that gave its users the power to customize and alter issues it didn’t like.

That ended up leading to some poor first impressions from customers who didn’t really understand what they have been doing. Someone who installs apps that continuously run within the background (as a result of they like the app’s performance), however then blame the Android OS itself for poor battery life.

Again – House – Recents

So as an alternative of giving the consumer only one button, Android advanced to the point where three have develop into normal. These have been originally hardware buttons, however as you’ll study under, that slowly started to shift to be software-based. Positive, Android might have been coded like iOS to solely use one button, however three was better.

At the very least that has been the thought of tens of millions of Android users however that’s one thing that’s subjective. Three buttons may be optimum (or just higher than only one) but optimum isn’t all the time most popular. Some individuals favor simplicity whereas others are very happy to have extra choices.

Going back, going to the Residence Display, and viewing your lately opened purposes.

Having those three buttons at the backside of the smartphone (the place they’re simply accessed) allows users to navigate by way of the software program quicker. Want to return to the final display an software displayed? Simply faucet the Again button. Have to exit an app? Simply faucet the Residence button.

House and again are buttons that we’ve got been used to in net browsers for many years in order that they made sense in a cellular operating system. Including within the Recents button (now formally referred to as Overview) makes issues even quicker and simpler as the consumer can now change between apps inside seconds.

Others, including the Menu button, have principally gone extinct nowadays whereas the core three continue to be used.

History of Android’s Navigation Bar

Even the primary Android smartphone took benefit of Again, Residence, and Overview (aka Recents) buttons. The factor is, the first smartphone, the HTC Dream (aka the T-Cellular G1) had these buttons nevertheless it additionally had a name button, cling up/power button, a menu button, a bodily keyboard, and a trackball as nicely.

This made for a really noisy consumer interface and Google knew they needed to simplify things so as to compete with the simplicity of iOS. I’m completely happy to see they didn’t just copy Apple (in contrast to Android’s current gesture navigation type) and consider they settled on giving the consumer some added choices while not making issues too complicated.

The thought of software Again, House, and Overview buttons began with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Android four.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Navigation Bar

It was late within the yr of 2011 when Google launched Android 4.zero to the public. As standard, it took a while for some units to get updated but anybody in search of new phones (or a Nexus) have been among the first to make use of the software program. This was a fairly massive launch for Android that did more than making the software navigation bar a staple on the platform.

Now, to be technical, this was a function of Android that was initially launched in Android three.0 Honeycomb. Nevertheless, Honeycomb is Google’s first tablet-only release of Android so the software program navbar wasn’t made out there for phones. It only took Google eight months to get from Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich although.

So this was the primary time smartphone house owners have been getting to use the brand new function.

The thought is straightforward. Give the consumer a number of ways to navigate by means of the operating system and put it proper there on the backside of the display. Some OEMs stuck with hardware navigation buttons for years (and some still proceed to use them). However most individuals agree that a software navbar is the best way to go.

Android Navigation Bar

Android four.4 KitKat Navigation Bar

We didn’t see much change with regards to the Navigation Bar from Android 4.zero to Android four.4. Google wasn’t being lazy or anything. In reality, between 4.0 and 4.four Android had 12 different releases pushed to the public. This final from Android four.0’s release date of October 2011 until four.four’s release date of October 2013.

Even with the discharge of Android 4.4 KitKat, the software navigation bar didn’t change much. Google describes this evolution as making the UI “brighter and lighter” with Android’s design language shifting to a “brighter” and “extra open” experience. For the client although, they principally simply observed the added transparency impact.

The image above is an effective instance as some apps have been in a position to use a clear background for the Navigation Bar.

This was often only seen when viewing the House Display (for UX reasons), nevertheless it did make approach for some further modifications that have been on the horizon. Google had been utilizing these icons for years and that was going to vary within the next main launch of Android.

Android Navigation Bar

Android 5.0 Lollipop Navigation Bar

Earlier than, the icons that Google had chosen made sense. You had one button that appeared like an arrow pointing backward. The center one was in the shape of a house. And the last one showed what appeared to be a layer of bins which could possibly be interpreted as displaying open apps.

With the update to Lollipop though, Google put loads of emphasis on Material Design. This was the primary Android release to use this design language and it has gone on to influence the look of apps, websites and different services that Google presents. It too has advanced through the years but that’s a story for an additional time.

Material Design 1.0 was all about “tactile attributes, shadows, and lightweight from the bodily world.”

I’m unsure why that meant they had to change the navigation button icons, but some OEMs have been stubborn with the change. Some stored the house-shaped icon for the Residence button. This was few and much between although so individuals needed to get used to the buttons being changed with a triangle, a circle, and a sq..

They still served the same features however have been modified with many have been left wondering why. I can solely speculate as to why this alteration was made however I really feel it needed to do with sticking to the “physical world” philosophy and those three shapes are something that can be easily minimize out of paper.

Android Navigation Bar

Android 8.0 Oreo Navigation Bar

We went a number of extra years with not a lot occurring to Android’s Navigation Bar. Google would find yourself making some delicate tweaks here and there but every thing stayed the identical for probably the most half. Even with the release of Android eight.zero Oreo again in August 2017, there wasn’t much change.

The workforce did determine to make the buttons bolder although. So as an alternative of them being empty shapes with a strong define, they crammed within the empty area. The House button did get another circle added around the outdoors of it, however the OS’ Navigation Bar continued to be a staple with just three buttons.

This is able to soon change with future releases as Google begins to transition to a gesture-based navigation system.

Android Navigation Gestures and the Way forward for the Navigation Bar

Now, I might go on and speak concerning the launch of Android 9 Pie and its transition to gesture-based navigation. Nevertheless, I really feel I did a superb job of writing about this once I spoke concerning the positives and negatives of navigation gestures. I favor gestures over software buttons however not the best way Google is doing it.

Since Google started to push navigation gestures, others started to push it as properly. This, in fact, was all spawned by Apple’s introduction of gesture-based navigation buttons and I loathe the trail Google has taken. Don’t get me improper, I want these gestures over buttons but dislike how some OEMs implement it.

If I had my method, I might make navigation types a core perform of Android that might be custom-made.

Give it some thought like downloading an alternate keyboard. Or switching from the stock launch to a custom launcher reminiscent of Nova Launcher, Motion Launcher, Lawnchair Launcher, and so forth. I want to see the consumer given the selection to use the inventory navigation choices to choosing a third-party choice.

These third-party options might do something from duplicating an OEM’s technique or using one thing extra revolutionary such because the ever-popular Pie Controls type. I want to see customers given the power to obtain these from the Play Store and set them such as you would set another default purposes.

Personally, I’m keen on Pie Controls and MIUI’s navigation gestures.

I’m presently using Fluid Navigation Gestures on my Pixel 2 XL and OnePlus 7 Pro (whereas hiding the Navigation Bar using ADB/root) to offer me the texture of Xiaomi’s MIUI gestures on these units. The left and right swipes in on the display are very satisfying with the OnePlus 7 Professional and its curved edge display.


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