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I've been reading some articles about user behavior on mobile devices, and a lot of them keep showing this image:

enter image description here

When trying to figure it out the best menu on the app I'm working on I noticed the bottom center area is the easiest for the user to reach. With this in mind and with the new Google Material design FAB button, it came to my mind to have a central FAB trigger to open up the main menu of the app.

  • Top bar: Far away for most users.
  • Side bar: No space for it.
  • Google Material Drawer: Still need to reach the top to open it.

So my idea is to have a central FAB trigger, like this image:

enter image description here

When the user clicks, it animates to fill the screen with the menu.


The only consideration I would have, is when creating an app that needs a search function, or an e-commerce, for example, when we need to keep user updated with how much items he has in the shopping cart.

Using both, top bar (for search & cart) and central FAB (for main menu), would be acceptable?


With these points, what do you guys think? Is this a good idea? Or should i stay with the old, traditional top bar menu?

What other alternative should I consider when chosing the menu to my app?

  • Interesting concept. One concern for me would losing the FAB for it's intended purpose: the primary action in a view. If you think using the menu will always be your primary action, this isn't a problem. – plainclothes Jan 21 '16 at 18:06
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    Interesting aside: If "thumb reach" was a primary concern for users we would all still have 4" screens ;-) – plainclothes Jan 21 '16 at 18:09
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How important are those menu options? How frequently are they supposed to be accessed?

The fab should be used for the most important action(s) on that view. In other words, it is good to promote actions. So if your menu does not contain actions or if those actions are not frequent (like creating a new e-mail inside Gmail), using it for the purpose you described may be annoying for Android users.

The drawer can also be opened by sliding your finger from outside the screen on the left to the right. You don't necessarily need to reach the top. Keep in mind: by using the drawer you will be actually making it harder for people to discover those menu items so just use it if they are not super important and are not supposed to be used frequently.

I'm wondering why you aren't you investing in the action bar, it might really suit your case and you can have as many items as you want. Android will automatically group them inside an action overflow if needed.

Summing up:

Menu items are actions that people will access frequently: Use the fab. Depending on your view, context and content, it will make sense to the fab inside the view (it looks cool).

Menu items are actions that people will not access so frequently: Use the action bar

Menu items are sections or areas that people will use frequently: They should probably not be hidden inside a menu, they should be exposed in the view, maybe separated by a fixed or scrollable tab.

Menu items are sections or areas that people will use occasionally: Use the drawer

Hope this helps

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It depends totally on, what category of App you are making. Lets take an example of a news app, where user will bother only news content, they will not go and look for menus frequently, they will look for categories tab only. In this case placing menus in FAB icon will not be good.

I would asked to deisgn an app with some frequently used menu and I will do something this way:

First I will divide the menu items into 2 or 3 parts, more used menus and less used menus. More used will stick in the bottom and rest will be comes under Drawer.

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SIMPLE.

It makes sense! I mean the centered positioning of the most important action in your app.

Of course, If you would like to get semantic, as @pcattai said, the android guidelines suggest a CTA there. But if you don't take the guidelines very seriously, go ahead and incorporate the menu!

But once again, If I were to use a FAB(Floating Action Button), would have preferred the centered approach. So kudos for that.

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