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I have a list of categories like Food, Shopping, Electronics etc.. , which I am thinking of showing these as the main activity to the user. I think of showing the categories as a Grid View or a Table Layout with 3 columns by default and adjust rows according to the availability in the database. Is this a good user experience way? or should I go for navigation drawer or list view?

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There are some questions you can ask yourself to help you make this decision:

  • How many categories are their going to be? 3? 6? A list is probably efficient. 9? 12? 15? A grid would reduce scrolling.
  • Can you accurately convey meaning with just icons? Even on a smaller screen Android device? If not, you're going to be in trouble with a grid.
  • How often will the user be switching between categories? If often, a grid will make it easier and quicker.
  • How does the category list get called? Is it a slide-out menu? Then a list is more familiar to users.

In lieu of knowing the actual usage, Neilson has researched this for us and provide a pretty conclusive outcome:

So, Text Menus or Images? If you've been debating whether to use a text-only list menu or an image-based grid for mobile navigation, know that they're each good at different levels in the site's information hierarchy:

For the broadest and most diverse category levels, a text menu allows users to quickly navigate to the content in which they are interested. Once the differences between options become more nuanced, a grid of images helps users differentiate various offerings and make a more informed selection.

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There's also another study, also done by Nielsen about navigation menus which touches the idea of categories as well.

  • For example, if there are a lot of categories, you may choose to group them in bigger groups to help with quick scanning.
  • You can also choose to put at the top the most used or popular if you have any data to support you in this. Or place some categories you wish to promote and help in discoverability.
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