The public version of Android Q is just around the corner, and when it does, we will see a lot of feedback from end users who will try gesture navigation for the first time. The gesture navigation system has been the biggest change in UX lately as they dramatically change the way users navigate the operating system. Now users will have to swipe left / right to scroll back, swipe up from the bottom edge to go to the home screen, and swipe from the bottom corners to activate the virtual assistant. So far, these gestures have called for much praise and criticism from consumers, essentially dividing the community based on consumer preferences. In a new post on the Android Developer Blog, Google defends Android Q gesture navigation and tries to explain the rationale behind the various solutions involved.
Google's decision to test gestures was inspired by the increasing acceptance of these gestures by Android partners, as well as innovative Android apps, such as our own navigation gesture app (which Google mentioned in a blog post). Gestures are thought to be faster, more natural, and more ergonomic than software buttons. They require a stronger intention to invoke than software buttons that can be accidentally touched. In addition, the gestures leave many screen real estate open for applications and other content that goes along with the general trend of larger screens and smaller panels.
But with these positives, Google is also aware that gestures do not elicit the same reaction from every user. They can be more difficult to learn and require a conscious effort to change muscle memory. They also interfere with navigation patterns in applications in some cases. In addition, Google's biggest problem with gestures was the fact that each OEM manufacturer applied them differently, resulting in a fragmented navigation experience. This is a big problem from Google's point of view as it leads to a variety of core OS experiences as navigation, affecting both users and developers.
Because of this fragmentation, Android Q gestures will be the default navigation gesture for new Android Q + devices. This decision is in conjunction with Google's efforts to standardize the navigation experience with partners such as Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, HMD Global, OnePlus, LG, Motorola and others. Since these gestures are not appropriate for everyone, especially those with reduced skills and mobility, gestures will co-exist with the option to activate the navigation bar with three soft key buttons.
Google then defends the decision to proceed with the ongoing implementation of gestures, mentioning that all of their solutions are backed by extensive research and testing across the full range of the topic. The two main gestures in the current implementation, Back and Home, were designed to coincide with the most accessible and comfortable thumb movement areas.
Android Q gesture navigation came after testing several other navigation apps and prototypes. In conclusion, these tests consider the Android Q model to be more adaptable for one-handed use.
Google notes that Android Q gestures interfere with app drawers and other app slides. But given the fruitful use of Back, Google ultimately made the difficult decision to ask developers to resolve conflicts with system gestures. To facilitate the process, Google has provided additional resources detailing good practices that developers are embracing. If your app uses gesture-based navigation in itself, we encourage you to read the resources Google mentions at the bottom of your post. Gesture navigation is the way forward so we can best adapt.
Source: Android Developers Blog
Want more posts like this delivered to your inbox? Enter your email address to subscribe to our newsletter.