Striving to unify and modernise navigation across its suite of Android apps, Google has moved to the ‘hamburger’ nav solution to let users access additional content and settings. This works pretty well on Gmail, where content doesn’t run deep. Some options merely change the mode (e.g. switch email inbox) and others launch separate pages (e.g. Settings).
However, it does not work well on the Play Store, Android’s app marketplace.
The hamburger icon opens a drawer menu like it does in Gmail…
…as long as you haven’t searched on anything or tapped on an app icon. If you’ve done that, the icon changes into a back button which returns you to your previous page. This seems like a good idea until you remember that Android already has a native back button which is always used for the same thing. You can see it bottom left of the screenshot.
So if I’ve had a particularly deep dive in the Play Store, I’m reduced to hammering the back button if I want to access any of the functionality present in the hamburger drawer. I’ll press back to exit an app page, to hit a search results page, to hit another app page and so on. This is not very good.
Not only has Google changed the functionality of a key button, it has also duplicated the functionality of a button that already exists. Was this change made to make things easier for novice users? If so, it feels like robbing Peter to pay Paul. The hamburger menu should remain accessible at all times.
Published by: Dave Robertson in Uncategorized