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Most of the time when I open an application and want to search something, the search box will be put at the top of the screen. With today's screen sizes I find that often I have to move my hand, or reach out with my fingers to the extremities at the top. Then, after I've finished tapping at the search bar, I have to move my hand back to the bottom of the screen to continue typing.

Yet many guides I see (such as this one from UXPlanet) suggest putting the search box at the top of the screen.

That gives me the question: why put the search box at the top, given that on mobile it's easier to reach the search bar and continue typing when it's put on the bottom?

Google's new Android Pie puts the search bar at the bottom (image taken from Android Authority's Pie review):

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    Because in apps, the bottom of the page needs scrolling to get to... – Solar Mike Feb 17 '19 at 8:52
  • @SolarMike Why can't it be a floating element? – jonvyltra Feb 17 '19 at 8:54
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    Because floating things cause others to be hidden or moved... – Solar Mike Feb 17 '19 at 8:59
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If the search bar isn't the primary object on the page, you need to be able to scroll away from it/hide it, due to the limited screen size you. That wouldn't be possible if the search bar was placed at the bottom or was a floating element.

That is also why it is often hidden in the top, and only appears when you pull down.

If it is the main object on the page, I don't see any reason why not. It would make great sense to place it there, like eg. Apple Maps or Waze where it is the first action.

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I think it is because phones before are not too long/big and people are still expecting to see the search bar at the top left portion of any screens.

But now that phones become bigger, I think new apps will emerge like that on Google's new Android Pie where the search bar go into the bottom for easier access.

I know some apps are placing important actions at the bottom too. Here's a link to support my answer: https://uxplanet.org/one-handed-use-of-tab-bar-bottom-navigation-best-practices-for-reachability-73376377444b

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Not always. Actually, there are applications with the search bar in the bottom. Apple Maps is an example. I know at least one mobile web browser with address bar in the bottom.

The main reason, I think, is a mind inertia. People are accustomed to see search in the top and its results below, so it is still unusual for them to have it reversed, while it maybe easier to reach fingerly.

Other reason to take into account is how essential search is in your application. Maybe it is used in one case of 100, and it is worth putting something more essential in the bottom (main menu). That is why search often appears in the top, where users at least can find it easily.

Update: oh, and also there is a third reason, I forgot of. Usually you type letters into search field, and to do that you usually need an onscreen keyboard. So, you click search field to focus in, and then onscreen keyboard appears below. So your search field usually jumps up. This can be uncomfortable.

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  • How many web browsers are there in total? How does the one compare? – Solar Mike Feb 18 '19 at 12:04
  • (Why) is it uncomfortable to have the search field jump up? Perhaps you can add some sources for that update. – jonvyltra Feb 18 '19 at 14:17
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    Because then the search field stops being at the bottom (which was the goal) and because it changes its position significantly. I don't have sources, it is just a common sense. Perhaps I should reformulate the phrase a bit. – Sergey Kirienko Feb 18 '19 at 14:22
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It's a horrendous user experience - a user's eyes can't look at both the input field and the keyboard at the same time. Typos and retyping abound.

Search bar that says "I can't see what I'm typing"

One possible explanation is that chat/conversation inputs are usually right above the keyboard (where they belong, IMO) and the separation is architected to prevent users from accidentally entering embarrassing search queries into conversation fields.

Conversational input is right above the keyboard

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