I’m finally working on my portfolio website. It’s 1:15 AM, today was the first day of my last semester, I’m tired and I just finished peer reviews from our last semester. But I finally fully formed this thought that’s been bouncing around my head for a couple months now; I had to write it down.
Bottom navigation is how we’ll navigate web pages and apps in the future. We’re already seeing it. Top navigation has seen its day.
Web pages are moving to web apps. We can all agree on that. But for those who haven’t thought about how these new spaces will be designed, think about your iPhone, the navigation bar is typically, if not always, along the bottom. Look at your Mac (not to plug Apple products too much) where is the dock located? Along the bottom, unless you’re one of those rebels who has put it on the left side.
As we, as users, become more accustomed to apps, the design of our web pages will follow. Scrolling will go and so will top navigation. Our apps and web sites will have top and bottom navigation; the best using bottom navigation. Scrolling will be minimal. The top and bottom navigation bars will be static, between which is displayed the information we seek. We’ll zoom and toggle. Bits and pieces will be presented to us. We can have them assembled into the big picture if we wish and vice versa.
Scrolling = searching. And searching takes time. As our information structures become more sophisticated and as we catalog information better, the need for scrolling goes out the window. At some point we’ll no longer need scrolling so it’ll get chucked. And if we aren’t scrolling then why not have an additional, helpful bit of functionality along the bottom of whatever screen you’re viewing?
Whether or not this idea is revolutionary, particularly insightful or even accurate, I do think it is valid. Scrolling is a hassle, clicking is a hassle. We’ll shift to showing users more information in a way that can be digested faster. Scrolling and clicking gums up the works. A fixed top and bottom navigation bar provides a frame and forces designers to present information in a way that demands less scrolling.
And I can’t wait. I can’t stand scrolling.