The actions and navigation in a mobile platform are the most important design elements one can implement for app’s activities. It provides several interface features that make an app immediately familiar to users across devices. But there are few rules to follow that contribute to a great consistent user experience. Lets see what are they.

– In Android applications display actions are in the action bar at the top of the screen. If there is any need in displaying more actions than can fit on the action bar, an action overflow icon indicated by three dots on the extreme right is recommended.

-Android applications may also use contextual action bar (CAB). A CAB is a temporary action bar that overlay the app’s action bar for the duration of a particular sub-task.

-When we come to iOS, actions are placed at the bottom of the screen with a limit of 5 actions.

                                       actions android      Screen_Shot_2013-06-10_at_3.19.00_PM

         (Left : Top action bar in android with search and action overflow icon, Right: In iOS actions are found at the bottom of the screen)

-In iOS applications, the tab navigation is placed at the bottom of the screen, again, as in actions, not more than 5 tabs should be displayed at a time. If there are more than 5 tabs, a “more” tab can be added to display the remaining tabs.

-Android recommends tabs to be placed at the top of the screen. However, scrollable tabs are allowed if there are more tabs than can be accommodated in the view-able screen width.


(Left : scrollable tabs in android and right iOS tabs found on bottom of the screen)

-For back Navigation, in case of iOS, It’s a standard rectangular button, with the left edge shaped into an arrow pointing left. However, it is not used to navigate backward across the entire device.

-On the other hand, Android devices have two built-in methods to achieve this sort of navigation: the Up caret button and the system back button placed on the task bar at bottom. This system back button is persistent on all screens and allows navigating backward across the entire device.

ios back

(Left : iOS back button while in right android has got system back at bottom of the screen and up caret in actions bar)

-A spinner is an Android UI element designed to allow an item to be selected from a set. Spinners are a versatile and can be used in many different situations. One common usage is for data selection in forms, allowing the user to select a single item from a list.

-In iOS , a picker is used to achieve similar function.

android-spinner-ios-picker(Left : android Spinner and right is an iOS picker feature)

So these were few guidelines for navigation in two most popular OS present today. With these in mind , one will not only achieve a consistent user experience but key points that decide an application design for android and iOS.