1

For my mobile app, ideally, I'd fit 6 top-level buttons into the navigation tab bar:

  • Overview
  • Tracking
  • Jobs
  • Notifications
  • Search
  • Menu ("hamburger")
    • Profile
    • Log out
    • Settings
    • App info
    • etc.

This is just one too many to fit in and still be usable, but none of the top level items seem suitable for transferring into the hamburger, nor can I coalesce two into one. They're "all important". (lol)

Do I just have to make a hard decision? Or are there other ways to shoehorn too many items into a mobile tab bar?

2

You can use horizontal scrolling of the tab bar. However, I would rather advice to reconsider which ones of those tabs are definitely a must and which ones are likely to be used while on the go. Prioritize the scenarios that are king to the mobile experience and anything else can fall onto the hamburger icon.

2

In addition to considering which of the menu items can go into the hamburger menu, you could also consider condensing the Search and Notification options down into a icons (like a magnifying glass glass and bell) to save space.

But, you should really think about which items are must haves and which can be swept into the hamburger.

1

I think 6 is still too many for the top level menu.

I would group the following:

  1. Notifications/Tracking: basically the lists of events with the link to the job overview.
  2. Search, Job list, Overview (if it is a job overview): by default the user sees the job list with a possibility to search through; when the search is activated, the job list is updated according to the search request; when user selects a job, they open a job overview page; to go back, "left arrow" icon can be used
  3. Profile, Settings, App info, Log out etc

Let me know, if I understood correctly and it fits to your needs.

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1

Best case scenario, you ideally don't want to have multiple navigations in one app. Either choice the tab bar or the hamburger menu. Without knowing exactly what each menu item leads to it is hard to guess how to consolidate, but it does seem possible with some of the suggestions others posted. Technically, your last tab item can be "More," however, I always feel like that is a cop-out. :)

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