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In apps where you have a list of items sorted by recency (tweets in the Twitter app, threads in the gmail app), typically the most recent item is at the top.

For a mobile app, is it better to violate this convention and have the most recent item be at the bottom? That way it's easier to reach the most recent item with your thumb. You would scroll up to see older items.

  • I like the way you think, but this is assuming users scroll with their thumb. I personally use my index or middle finger to scroll and click. Now, I hold my phone in one hand while I navigate with the other hand; I think the thumb-scroller you've described is holding the phone in the same hand that they're navigating with. Anyway, just something to think about. – John Nov 18 '15 at 21:14
  • It is also interesting to note that Apple did just that with the Photos app in iOS 8. The newest photos are at the bottom. – bassplayer7 Nov 25 '15 at 1:31
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Don't do it

Following this same logic, iOS puts major application areas at the bottom of the screen. People have learned it (those iOS folks are pretty committed), but it works against the way your brain wants to scan information. Consider this simple structural outline.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

^ Lame.

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  • 2
    I think this is a good point. It also explains why this is common in chat apps... in that case the messages are part of a whole, so as you read from top to bottom you are replaying the conversation and gaining context. However, in lists of unrelated items like tweets or email threads you aren't gaining any context by reading top to bottom. – Matt Nov 19 '15 at 0:29
  • @Matt Far more eloquent than I could've stated it. Continuous vs disconnected is the difference when comparing to chat. You can see the issue when you look at threaded emails in Gmail vs Apple Mail. (spoiler: Apple gets it wrong again) – plainclothes Nov 19 '15 at 0:32

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