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We are building a (non-native web app) that looks and behaves like a native iPhone app (using jQuery Mobile). Now the client wants a fixed footer menu which reduced the screen estate. Is a footer menu bad practice?

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Are you trying to prove your point to your client? – Knu Oct 21 '11 at 23:25
Could we get a picture of the current app and a demo footer? This depends strongly on the content of the footer. Often the footer is "read more" and "about us" style links, which are not helpful enough for a fixed footer, especially on mobile! Sites with fixed footers usually have very simple navigation and more helpful functions like "share" on the footer for easy access. – Ben Brocka Oct 21 '11 at 23:48
You don't really imagine you'll get answers such as "yes. fixed footers are terrible. never use them"... I don't get this question – Assaf Lavie Oct 22 '11 at 7:09

Depends. In your case, it sounds like this menu is too tall. But something the size of the iPhone's tab bar is beneficial as iPhone users are already used to this method of navigation.

If the menu is too tall, consider having a drop-down (or I guess drop-up in this case) button.

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