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Some Design such as Android Design suggests that we place the tabs in the top. It will be very cool to swipe to change a tab to another close one.

But when it comes to more than Three tabs, it will be a very bad experience to swipe from the first one to the forth one, and user may have to touch the tabs placed on the top, which is very difficult to do with only single hand.

Is top tap anti-single-hand operation? How to solve this problem with top-tab?

  • what kind of content do you have for each tab? some apps have it so user can swipe on the content to change the tab so user don't need to aim for the tab to change tab. An example of this is the current Google Play app. However, this only works if your content does not have other left/right swipable contents. – Chairman Meow Sep 3 '14 at 17:11
  • @ChairmanMeow Some views for different tabs, user can swipe to switch them but if there are many tabs say 4 or 5. User may have to touch to switch, this is not good user experience to touch a top tap bar with single hand – Jaskey Sep 4 '14 at 10:03
  • Lateral navigation (swiping left/right to switch between tabs) makes a lot of fun, shouldn't be a problem for up to 5 or 6 views - unless a common workflow requires you to switch often between tabs which aren't neighbors. But in that case you either have a content issue or tabs with lateral navigation were a wrong design decision. – CodeManX Nov 11 '14 at 0:47
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When it comes to more than three top-level tabs in Android you can consider using a navigation drawer as Facebook for Android App uses.

Android Guidelines show this example about the navigation drawer:

The user can open the drawer panel by touching the navigation drawer indicator.

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In this case the "navigation drawer indicator" is placed on the left of the screen.
In Facebook for Android App the same indicator is on the right, which I think is a better solution since about 90 percent of the population is right-handed:

enter image description here

In my opinion the potential advantages of a navigation drawer are:

  • If the "navigation drawer indicator" is placed on the right of the screen as on Facebook for Android, the options displayed are closer to the user's thumb. Since new, additional options are placed from top to bottom, they they get closer and closer as the number of options increases.
  • A navigation drawer is vertically scrollable, so potentially you can display many options (as on Facebook for Android App) and they'll still be very legible/usable.
  • The navigation drawer is an Android standard pattern and it's also used in Facebook App, so we can assume many users are already familiar with that (it may or may not be true to your app's target users).

The potential disadvantages of a navigation drawer are:

  • Not every user is familiary with the navigation drawer pattern.
  • The "navigation drawer indicator" is not a standard icon, su users might miss it.
  • Options contained in the drawer are not immediately visible, while in the top-tab the first 3 options are immediately visible.
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