Mobile navigation: are you a top or a bottom?


Mobile navigation! You’ve done all that typing of your website URL at the bottom of the screen to now have to stretch that hardworking thumb all the way to those three horizontal lines on the top right to open the website menu. It may not be a struggle you’ve even fully considered but it really is!

When it comes to the design of your website, you should never underestimate the importance of a well place navigation bar on mobile view. But where is best? With recent innovations in the latest web development trends, it’s clear that optimising for mobile is a must. At Rivia Digital we know there are pros and cons to the variety of mobile navigation placements and we’re here to share them with. It’s up to you to decide which fits best for your own website.

Why is a top mobile navigation so common?

It’s unfortunate that web design can sometimes be far too focused on the desktop experience. This is especially so when taking into account how 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices – and that figure is sure to rise through this new decade. When you consider the typical design strategies of a desktop website, the navigation almost always goes at the type – it’s a staple of web design that holds true even now. With that logic, it simply makes sense to carry that structure on across all devices.

How do you hold your phone?

But is it the best decision to create the best user experience? A user experience doesn’t just come from how readable the text in and how scalable the images are – it’s also how far you fingers and thumbs are going to have to stretch when reaching for the mobile navigation.

The perks of being a bottom (mobile navigation)

According to The Thumb Zone: Designing For Mobile Users, it would appear that regardless of hand position, a user is most inclined to use the bottom half to 75% of their screen’s device. So why is that all important mobile navigation not put there more often? Well, it’s becoming increasingly more common.

The benefits in terms of comfort are obvious. The concept of a bottom mobile navigation just seems to make sense and it can be found throughout the would of mobile applications. So why not websites? There’s so much we can learn from the likes of Calm, MyFitnessPal and thetrainline so it’s about time we started to incorporate those all-important strategies into our day-to-day websites. And yet, the overwhelming majority of mobile navigation remains at the top. But why?

Reasons to take it to the top (mobile navigation)

Familiarity. It’s that simple. Although the thumb struggles through on a mobile phone, it does it all the same. That muscle memory is hard to fight against. Sure there are definite benefits to be a bottom mobile navigation – the ease, how cool it looks, the fact that it looks like a modern app – but that top navigation feels like an old pair of comfy shoes. You don’t want to give them away and they’re still in good condition. Why change something that’s working so well? It’s a hard choice to make.

The verdict

We’re sold on the concept of a bottom navigation but of course it depends on the look and feel of each individual website and client. Sometimes a bottom mobile navigation doesn’

If you’d like to learn more how to best structure your website for mobile devices or even fully rebuild your site to enter the new decade with a bang, contact us today.