Navigation for mobile websites and apps always presents many challenges for today's web design experts. Many have opted to integrate bottom navigation into their affordable web design since that area of the screen is easily reachable with the thumbs.
Yet the question remains whether bottom navigation is actually effective. The answer really depends on what designers put there and how the navigation works. When the right interface is used, bottom navigation can be very effective.
Include Important Buttons
Like all parts of a mobile website, there is only so much bottom space to use. So it is vital to consider the way that most people will actually use bottom navigation - with their thumbs. Based on these two details, it’s essential to limit the number of links on the bottom of any mobile web design to only a few of the most important user destinations.
Avoid having more than 4 or 5 buttons in a tab bar and skip a scrolling link menu. Although scrolling navigation may enable the inclusion of more links, it increases navigation complexity and can get confusing for users. Scrolling bottom navigation can also make the actual selection of a desired link difficult.
Use the Right Labels
Along with limiting the number of links in any bottom navigation bar, those creating effective and affordable web design must also find the most useful way to label tab bar links and indicate current destination. Labeling in such small confines should ideally be done using easy-to-understand icons of the same design and size.
Color schemes for bottom navigation should plainly indicate active tabs to show current destination; other activity can be indicated using badges over the tab icons. Text labels should be used sparingly if at all, and only for labels requiring a minimal number of letters.
Make Bottom Navigation Easy
The best bottom navigation needs to be easy to use by showing tabs to necessary links and exhibiting behaviors that lend to content visibility and website functionality. The icons in the tab bar should be consistent throughout the entire website, only go to one specific page, and be visible even if unavailable on certain screens.
This consistency aids function by helping users more readily understand where they can go with which button; this eliminates the possibility of surprises or getting lost. To allow the best view of active content, the web design can also hide the tab bar during scrolling, bringing it back up once movement has stopped or the user scrolls upward once again.
While bottom tab bars should not be used as the only navigation on any mobile web design, they can be an effective addition to a total website interface when appropriately and consistently used for important website destinations. Bottom navigation is convenient and easily activated with thumbs; however, it must be well planned to provide functionality. Great bottom navigation, when implemented in conjunction with toolbars and other navigation, can make even the most affordable web design as effective as it needs to be!