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Let's we have an app that allows a user to view daily content from a specific user (think of it as a personalized blog app). This app has a Bottom Navigation Bar (iOS or Android) with 5 buttons which follows this guide. The buttons are the following from left to right: home (general home feed, similar to Facebook feed page), archives (archived older articles organized by month), images (a gallery of images...i.e. inspirational quotes images), and more (app settings, about us, contact us, etc.).

For the second page, archives, it will display a list of articles that has been archived (one article is posted every day). When the user find an article to read, it will display that article's content (similar to reading a blog post.....banner image, title, quote, post content, and some share buttons). Once on that article, the user will be able to swipe left and right to view an article older or newer (kind of like going to the next chapter of a book) OR if they scroll down enough to the bottom, little left and right arrows will appear which will be alternatives to swiping. Why is this necessary? We believe after the user reads one article, they want to read the previous day's article. So, we would like this feature as we deem it to be useful for the user.

My question is: once they are viewing an article, will the bottom navigation bar still be displayed? What about if they keep swiping left and right to view newer and oldest articles?

My inclination is to either (1) keep it visible, but if they click on a different tab then come back to the archives tab, then they will resume where they left off or (2) start fresh. My third option (3) is too hide the navigation bar, and the only way to return to the main page, is by using the back button (which will be on the top left corner).

Similarly, within the settings tab, it will be a menu. Do I hide it once they start navigating through the menu and the bottom navigation bar will reappear once they go back to the main initial settings page? Do I keep a "story" or record/history of what they've done on that specific tab and the only way to get back to the main settings menu is to keep going back?

Reading this question, the user navigating through the different archives or the settings menu isn't really a "process". Compared to Instragram's "post an image/video", it takes you step by step (i.e. there is a defined beginning and ending to the process). Whereas with my app, the "process" ending is determined by the user, not the app. This makes me to believe is should be visible.

I'm not a great UX guy, but I know a good UX when I see one. This situation is a grey area for me, and I don't know what the exact answer is for this. Any help will be appreciated.

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Combining a few rules of thumb:

  • Bottom navigation should persist in all views which can be accessed directly from it. So it should persist on the archive list page. The article view is a level deeper, and does not necessarily need the bottom nav.

  • stacked nav bars take up valuable real estate and lead to misclicks thanks to crowding click targets, so they should be avoided if possible. If you have next/previous buttons, they should not be stacked with another nav bar.

I would recommend starting with option (3), which is tried and true. It makes the article view(s) a clean and uncluttered journey centered around reading, without sacrificing the ability to return to the main areas via the back button.

If after trying that you find a correlation between sessions ending on the article view (perhaps because they can't find the back button) and users with low engagement, then would be the time to consider alternatives.

An alternative is to keep the main nav at the bottom, have the next and previous buttons up top with the back button (and possibly the name of the current article, since we're now talking about a full top bar). I consider this less ideal because two navs, even on opposite parts of the screen, takes space and feels non-committal, which could harm the journey.

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