Navigation

Because a mobile application typically has many screens, navigational controls are often helpful. Several different approaches to navigation are commonly implemented to help users find different areas of the application. In addition to the navigational paradigms implied by the design pattern details in the Screen-Based previoussection, many devices implement toolbars, tabs, or menus.

Menus

Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and Android have a standard menu to help their users navigate the application. A menu is a consistent element of every application. These menus usually provide general navigation like "Home" or "Settings" pages, but also might have actions such as "Create" or "Save." Menus are typically used like tab bars, in that they include a small number of options for navigation. In many cross-platform iOS-BlackBerry applications, you will see the BlackBerry menu include the same items as the iOS tab bar. Android offers both menu and tab bar, providing flexibility for the application designer.

Tab Bars

Tab bars are found on iOS and Android (see Figures 10-1 and 10-2). These can sit on the top or bottom of the screen. Most platforms also have a maximum number of these that you can show at once. Each tab will hold a fully loaded view for fast context switching. These are generally used to highlight key areas or create segmentation in the application's information architecture.

Figure 10-2. Android tab bar

Figure 10-2. Android tab bar

Toolbars iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile have toolbars (see Figures 10-3 and 104). Toolbars sit on the bottom of the screen on iOS and Android, and in custom locations on BlackBerry and Windows Mobile.

Figure 10-3. ¡OS toolbar

Figure 10-3. ¡OS toolbar

Figure 10-4. Android toolbar

Figure 10-4. Android toolbar

Navigation Bars

These are similar to toolbars, and usually have navigation-specific items; this can include a title, or left and right navigation buttons (see Figures 10-5 and 10-6). Navigation bars usually sit at the top of the screen.

Figure 10-5. ¡OS navigation bar

Figure 10-5. ¡OS navigation bar

Back

Menu

Figure 10-6. Windows Mobile navigation bar

Button Bars and Context Menus

Like popup menus, in the sense that they can include general navigation, button bars (see Figure 10-7) also can contain screen-specific functions such as "new" or "edit." These bars usually sit on the bottom of the screen like a toolbar.

Figure 10-7. Android button bar

Figure 10-7. Android button bar

Blackberry uses context menus (see Figure 10-8)instead of navigation bars to control the flow of the application.

Figure 10-8. Blackberry context menu
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