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I find it too easy to hit "Back" (in a browser kind of way) forgetting that there is no "Forward" to correct my mistake.

3
  • I do the same all the time. forward is in the overflow menu (top right)
    – Dave Haigh
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 14:28
  • Do you mean in the Chrome browser? Because it is not there in other browsers, and I don't see it as a system button
    – Mawg
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 8:53
  • Somewhat related (but non-Chrome) softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/51638/…
    – Mawg
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 8:55

6 Answers 6

12

There is a way . . .

Source: http://www.forwardbutton.org/2013/10/google-chrome-for-android.html

2021.04.25 Seems that link is dead and gone.

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  • 1
    Thanks. Having found this hidden away on the settings menu - I use this a lot !
    – PhillipW
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 7:53
  • Can you provide a new reference or more explanation of why these changes were made just so that the answer will still be relevant? The link doesn't seem to point to a valid page anymore :(
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 22:10
  • The link pointed out that (in Chrome) the Forward button is in the settings menu.
    – PhillipW
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 8:05
11

Back takes you back one step, and forward is an undo for back; more like a redo button.

It's unnecessary in most cases--forward buttons don't see much use in browsers either; less than 1%. It would make more sense to focus on why users mistakenly press back instead.

Breadcrumb Navigation: Further Investigation of Usage

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  • 3
    I think the key point: "It would make more sense to focus on why users mistakenly press back instead"
    – PhillipW
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 16:05
  • 4
    WRT less than 1%: that's still 10 million or more (of which I am one), given Android's 1 billion active user base as of last summer. @PhillipW one example: backing through series of web pages sent me out of browser and back to Google search results, one too far. Now I have repeat the search and whatever path to get to the point I meant to stop at. Sometimes the one too far back sequence dumps to home screen instead. Now user is completely in cold. Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 6:31
  • 2
    With gestures back is very easy to do accidentally, though still a nice feature. It would be nice to be able to go forward with similar gesture (Pixel 4 XL). Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 9:26
5

The main reason in my opinion for not having a forward button is that you don't want to give the user too many options and most apps are simply not built to handle such an intent. The Android OS is fairly complex as it is and the back button is there specifically to make the experience less confusing and provide a sense of place within the system. Many apps also provide up navigation.

Here is a diagram explaining navigation with UP and BACK -

enter image description here

BACK & UP

enter image description here

"Forward" navigation within apps should be done through the UI not through any system navigation in order to...

A) Save valuable screen space

B) Not confuse the user


It should be noted that you could technically build an app that implemented a system wide "forward button"


So in conclusion the native android experience is not oriented to the behaviour similar to web browsing. Similarly your computer's OS does not have a system wide "forward button" and neither does Windows Phone or iOS.

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  • The UI complexity part already has a model in mobile web browser: long press back button shows current location in the navigation breadcrumb trail. If at the head (most recent), no more nodes are shown. The comparison to OS not having forward doesn't work: they don't have back buttons at all (outside the file manager). Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 6:39
1

On the Aquos press the three vertical dots to bring down the menu (located at the top right of the browser screen). If you have pressed the back button previously, the right arrow (top left of menu) can be pressed - this is like the forward button on your computer browser. Technically it is a back-end button.

0

How you take your user forward/deeper in your app is crucial to a developer. It's just like unfolding a story in front of a user. Going back is just picking breadcrumbs. I never felt a need of forward button to navigate somewhere in the app. Giving a forward button is just killing an overall experience to take user from one level of excitement to other. A user must feel the story embedded in the navigation. I can not afford to destroy that story.

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Not everybody, nor most I would suspect, are using their apps (Chrome, Google maps, Gmail, wifi Analyzer, etc.) to partake in some kind of "unfolding story." other than games, most apps simply provide information for practical, and often times impractical purposes: maps/locations/directions; date of Elvis Presley's death; step-by-step guides/tutorials; length of time to reach the moon at 60 mph; etc.

generally speaking, any app that is not a game or game-like is just more productive and useful with an [easily accessible] "forward" button; but above all, it makes for a much more confident and therefore curious user. no one wants to leave a room knowing they might not be able to get back.

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