I'm currently prototype a search / result workflow for a web app.
You search something, click on a result and be able to go back to the search result.
Now how do I display that? Do I implement a back-button or should I rely on the browser back-button?
But first some information on the web-app & what I've already tried / searched:
The web-app is a tool for work. It means that there are no alternatives and the users will use the tool multiple times everyday. So they could learn complex interaction-systems overtime.
The users will mostly use the web-app on Android devices. But it needs to be able to acces the tool over desktop & iPad too. The device-usage is about the following:
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini: 80%
So I started trying out some websites and searched for best practices and I came across an intresting fact: native mobile apps are implementing back-buttons / -links while web-apps don't.
Here are some examples (left web-app, right native app. Only Android, no iOS examples):
The web-app doesn't offer a back-button while the native app offer a back-arrow top left but removes the navigation completly. So while a mobile user need to rely on a browser back-button or Android back-button, he is able to still navigate and search. The Native App user on the other hand is able to quickly go back to the result, but can't navigate further.
If you scroll down, the native app have a fixed header where you can go back all the time, while the web-app don't have a fixed header at all.
More examples for native Apps can be found here on mengto.com.
Native apps are 100% mobile optimized, because it's the only focus. I'm aware that there is also a difference between Android and iOS since iPhone doesn't have a back-button on the hardware and need such a back-button in the UI. But most of the Android-Apps still provide a back-button in the application itself.
So why do web-apps don't provide such a back-button on the mobile size, since it's integrated in most native-apps?
And what should I use in my web-app? Should I provide a additional back-button or not? (As I mentioned earlier, we focus on Android User).
Article I read but didn't satisfy me completly
Should a web-based UI rely on the browser back button?
Any Research on User Experience Perceptions of Native Apps vs Web or Hybrid Apps
Back button on mobile web app
Is a back button a good idea for mobile?