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Is it good to hide url bar from Mobile websites?

By default it shows. but there are some JavaScript tricks which can hide the bar on page load. but user can get back by dragging from top.

For a Mobile Website (not mobile web apps) should we hide this or keep this?

The only benefit I see is that it will give some extra space 20px on screen

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Isn't this only true for iPhone? Android versions (at least the later ones) auto-hide the location bar. –  dhmholley Jan 28 '13 at 12:21
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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Personally, I would like to have the extra screen real estate, as long as I could easily get it back.

The main issue with hiding the address bar is how people will learn that they can make it accessible again.

You could hide the address bar and still show a small tab on the top right (possible with an icon) that indicates that the something can be dragged down.

I would try a stepwise introduction:

  1. The first three times a user uses the app (or opens a page), show the address bar and hide it after a certain time interval (e.g. 5 seconds). Leave a tab visible that shows an icon followed by some text (e.g. "drag down for address bar").
  2. After another couple uses, immediately hide the address bar and only show the tab with icon and text.
  3. After another couple uses, still hide the address bar immediately and show the tab, but now only the icon.
  4. Optionally, after another couple uses, you could possible even hide the tab, but having no indication for dragging anymore sounds a bit drastic.

To fine-tune the steps (are all steps really needed, after how many uses should you go to the next step, etc.), do some user testing.

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Have to disagree here - hacking away the operating system / browser default user interface should never be considered a user friendly solution. If anything, submit a feature request to Apple. –  kontur Jan 28 '13 at 12:05
    
Consistency is arguably more important than just taking away the URL bar entirely right from the start. I'd get confused when websites do new things after a trivial number of visits. If you think it is important to involve the end-user in this, I'd make it a user-setting of sorts: "Hide the URL bar on your next visit? [Yes] or [No]". –  MHD Jan 28 '13 at 14:58
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I got an LG Optimus 2x with Android. When I read this question I actually thought the url-bar was hidden on all webpages. I just tested on a few websites and that was not the case.

I like when the url is hidden. If you visit a webpage you want to see the page, not the url.

We all know that the url is in the top. Where else should it be? Even when using a computer its on the top of the browser. I dont think anyone wouldnt be able to find it.

Besides I just checked Google from my phone. They hide the url too. When some of the most visited websites like google use it the users should be used to it.

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The URL bar is the main clue to users for identifing where they are - hiding it will potentially make the experience confusing or even leave a negative impression - i.e. "Why is the website taking over my browser? Is this a fraudulent website that hides the address bar?"

Hacking away operating system or browser defaults via some "clever" technique is hardly ever good usability. @FlorescuAdrian mentioned visual and technical inconsistencies in his reply, but even more sever is the general disregard for the user's preference and browsing environment.

This technique is similar to automatically opening popups, jumping to fullscreen mode or playing loud music without this being based on user interaction - this is a disruptive intrusion into the browsing experience of users and should be avoided.

Just because some designers / developers use this hack to get the badly craved screen real estate, it is by no means a good practice. If the device software producer would have thought it a good idea for any website to impact an part this essential to the browsing experience, there would be native APIs for accessing such a feature.

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But on mobile, most URLs can't be fully read anyway. I've found them to be a nuisance more often than not, and that's a flaw in mobile browsers; they should've shown the end of the URL, rather than always the beginning, which most often doesn't change at all. –  MHD Jan 28 '13 at 14:55
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I am a Front End Developer and in the last month I did some testing on a lot of ecommerce websites.

One of the most annoying things is the flickering of the screen when the bar is force-hidden. Ex: www.asos.com, www.macys.com, www.target.com etc...

I really hate when that happens. Makes me tap on the wrong button because of the scroll repositioning most of the times.

I think we should leave the address bar be handled by the browser. This way at least it will be consistent with all websites and the address bar is hidden anyways when you scroll down so I don't see a good reason yet.

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Do you mean tones of ecommerce websites or tons of ecommerce websites? Agree with you on flickering and other user experience impairments. –  kontur Jan 28 '13 at 12:07
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