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We're currently thinking about our hamburger menu and the navigation in our app. Here's an example using the Drive app:

This is the Drive app when opening it from the launcher.

This is the menu, now I tap on Starred

This is the Starred screen. Note the hamburger menu icon on the top left. What would be the expected navigation now, when pressing the Android hardware back button? The Drive app goes back to the My Drive page as shown in the first image. But one could also argue that the app closes since the My Drive page is not a root view, and the Starred screen does not have a back button.

What would be the preferred way of handling this? It seems that most apps we checked are pretty inconsistent on this topic.

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I echo @Shreyas point: Do not adopt "a different application to define patterns and actions for your needs".

Now to answer your question: I would definitely bring the user back to the "My Drive" page for the following reasons:

1- It is the page where the user was at before (even if some argue that it is a not a root view page), and it is a Back button, user expects to go back!

2- If I am at the Starred page, and I want to exit the app, I can just tap the Home button, it will exit the app, and that's the behavior the user expects.

3- If I am at the Starred page, and both Home and Back buttons act the same, then I am not taking advantage of having the Back button available. Each button can achieve a different task.

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Don't use a different application to define patterns and actions for your needs

The screenshots here are (presumably) from the Google Drive app where "Starred" isn't a standalone page. Here, "Shared with me", "Recent", "Starred", etc. are sub-divisions of the "My Drive" screens. Therefore, it makes sense for the app to lead the user to the "My Drive" screen (which is the homepage) of the application.

Some advice

  • Create your own navigation flows based on the user requirements and the hierarchy of the application screens.

  • Also, and this is very important, don't use Google/Apple/Microsoft applications as the baselines. Many times, these applications also have poor UX and misleading navigation flow patterns.

  • If your application also has similar pattern or where all the menu items can be considered as a base screen, use the "tap back twice to exit" action. You might have noticed this in some apps where, on tapping the back button, you see a toast message asking to tap back again to exit the app.

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Don't mix on screen navigation and hardware navigation. Google Drive application uses Hub-and-Spoke pattern. The hamburger menu is a hub that guides to different parts of the app. And if you are on the first level of 'spoke' you should use hamburger menu icon. The

Hardvare back button works like navigational 'undo'. You can go to previous window or close appeared popup by it. So in your case id you're on the Starred screen and you press 'back' button it's ok that you go back to the previous screen and not open the menu.

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