A bit of background:

I'm in a project where we're building an android system service (meaning it will work regardless of which app is currently in the foreground) for an action bar that will overlay any app and contain some actions/controls. Some of the actions/controls in the bar will include e.g home, back, minimize the bar +3 more.

To my question:

What would be the most logical order for the items in the action bar?

Home feels weird to have as the first item because back is usually located in the top left corner. But having home anywhere else (even as the second item) feels misplaced in relation to the other options.

Any suggestions?


enter image description here

  • How do you envision this working with the Navigation Bar? Android always has a Back button available through the navbar and it's often on the right, but sometimes on the left.
    – sintax
    Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 19:02
  • The circumstances around this project are a bit special (I can't really go much into it due to NDA), but the classic Android navigation bar won't exist, and the action bar I described above will take its place. I've never experienced the items in the navigation bar to be in any other order than Back, Home, Recent Apps, so maybe that's the way to go in my case (+ 5 more options) as well? :)
    – Mumas
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 8:27

2 Answers 2


If you have the time, test the two options (one design with HOME as left-most and then one design with BACK as left-most). After testing, measure which of the two were more successful and quicker to use.

If you have to take-a-shot-in-the-dark and pick one option, choose what is more familiar to the population. Do not re-invent popular rules. I would guess more people are used to a HOME button being left-most.

If the HOME button being left-most adds confusion, use design to make it distinct. For example, HOME should be isolated while BACK, PAGE UP, PAGE DOWN should be grouped together as they are more related in functionality.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 1
    Thanks for the reply! :) The most difficult part is actually finding out what is more popular, but I guess the only way to find out would be to do some testing... On Android (which this UI will be running on), Back is always the far left option (then Home and Recent Apps) in the classic navigation bar, but the two other options feel so misplaced next to all the other controls that will be in this particular action bar. But I guess that if that's what Android users are used to it should fly? :)
    – Mumas
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 15:35
  • It is a blessing that your personal opinion doesn't matter. The users matter. But sometimes it is frustrated that your personal opinion doesn't matter when you know you're right but the masses don't see it that way.
    – jhurley
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 17:59

I would use a home icon like most android apps to keep it universal and distinct from the navigation. You can also use a logo or another universal icon on your app/website. enter image description here

  • I understand your point, but I think I will prefer to have icons for all the options for visual consistency (the text labels from the original image are just placeholders to show my example). 'Back' will also be considered as navigation so I 'll have to look into another way to visually distinguish navigation from actions... :)
    – Mumas
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 15:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.