Why Android Gesture Navigation Set to Default
Android Q Gesture Navigation; According to Android Developer’s blog, Google said that Android users believe that three-button navigation is more ergonomic than gesture navigation. But the latter is more efficient and can display more content, so it is a better navigation mode.
A day after the release of the final beta version of Android Q, Google detailed on the official blog Android Developer why the system’s new gesture navigation mode is better than before.
Android UI product manager Allen Huang and Rohan Shah wrote, “By turning to a gesture mode for system navigation, we can provide more screen space for applications. This will lead to a more immersive experience.”
No one is arguing about the benefits of doing so, but the trouble for Google is the Android “return” feature, and the best way to use gestures to preserve this functionality – making end users feel that the solution fits their nature. The two product managers wrote, “We prioritize this goal, not other less frequent navigation operations such as ‘app drawers’ and ‘recent use’.”
“Our research begins with understanding how users hold their phones, what the typical touch range is, and what features are most commonly used by mobile phone users. On this basis, we have built many prototypes and Comprehensive testing involves dimensions such as desirability, speed of use, ergonomics, etc.” They said, “Our final design has been published through a series of studies – how fast users learn systems, and how quickly users adapt to the system. How fast is the user’s feelings about the system.”
The heat map below shows the area where the user can “comfort” gestures when using the phone with one hand. As you can see, it shows that the “return” feature should be moved to the sides of the phone, just as Google did in Android Q:
Google admits that the iPhone-style gesture system “at the cost of not being able to quickly access the overview/recently used applications.” Sliding the screen up and pressing the screen is slower than clicking the button. But the company said that Android users call out multitasking views only half the length of the main screen.
A very interesting point: users actually think that three-button Android navigation is more ergonomic. The navigation model has been in use for many years before Google implemented changes on Android P last year. In the ergonomics score, those buttons scored 5.78 points, which is higher than the Android Q gesture (5.39 points).
Android users compare ergonomic (blue) and one-handed (orange) scores for different navigation modes (higher is better)
On the other hand, users think that gestures are a better way to control one-handed phones. Google’s data shows that Android Q-style navigation can help people get things done faster, even if some people need some time to get familiar with it:
In addition to the application drawer, gestures are a huge change for people, they take an average of 1-3 days to adapt – especially, the user is somewhat difficult to cope with like left slide or right slide bottom bar and trigger return like this Operation.
In qualitative research, we found that after the initial run-in period of 1 to 3 days, the user is proficient and can always distinguish between the two gestures. Most users don’t want to switch back to three-button navigation (even though this is still an option).
Average time comparison required to complete Home (blue)/return (purple) operation in different navigation modes (lower is better)
Google found that people used the return function less frequently during the first few days of trying out Android Q and getting familiar with it. “After this time, the number of times people (returned) pressed back is ultimately the same as the three buttons and our Android P navigation.”
Android Q Gesture Navigation
Therefore, Google finally decided to continue to implement gesture navigation. The company has confirmed that in order to avoid fragmentation and differences in the way mobile phones are navigated by different manufacturers, mainstream Android phone manufacturers have agreed to set Google’s new navigation method as the default navigation method on Android Q products, including Samsung, LG, OnePlus, Motorola, Xiaomi and HMD Global.
But Google also made it clear that if users are willing, they can choose to continue using the classic three-button navigation bar in Android Q. This option is not only included in the beta; it will also appear in the official version. After forcing Pixel 3 users to use gestures, Google will also offer them the same “Choose your own navigation” option.
Google’s blog post acknowledges that the use of gesture navigation has “proliferated” in the past few years. The company did not mention the iPhone X, but its move reflects its recognition of the Palm Pre that leads this trend.