10
Jul
unnamed

Users are reporting the appearance of a strange new feature in Facebook's Android app – a bottom navigation bar. This appears to be part of Facebook's beta testing program, but not all participants are seeing the new UI element. We've confirmed with multiple people, so this seems like the real deal. Is this what Facebook's app will look like in the future?

BOx7eCeCMAAZVNk 2013-07-10-16-21-31 2013-07-10-16-23-02

The four button at the bottom of the app have a slight gradient with a blue highlight indicating the active one. This would be an interesting direction to go – bottom navigation tabs are more of an iOS thing. It appears the side navigation panel is gone in this version of the UI as well. The navigation menu in the current app is a bit of a dumping ground for functions that don't fit anywhere else. Maybe the redesign will organize them more logically, but they could also simply be crammed in elsewhere.

And yes, the legacy menu button lives on. You would think changing up the UI would be a great time to get with the program, but that's apparently not how Facebook rolls. The updated UI appears to be a server side change, which would explain why most people aren't seeing it. It's unclear if this is the future, or some crazy idea that will soon be relegated to the dustbin of history. A screen of the current app is below for comparison.

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[via Jorge Sánchez – Thanks, Rachid Otsmane-Elhaou]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Nathan Shoemark

    Just no! Horrible, unusable!

  • Barzagli

    Fuck Facebook this is android not iOS !

    • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

      Regardless of OS, Don't you think buttons at the bottom are more comfortable to use specially considering increasing display sizes?

      • ArrTooDeeToo

        Not when our phone navigation buttons are down there. It just complicates things for us. Meant to hit the Messages tab...Oops, I just closed the app! Lame, facebook. Lame.

        • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

          No it isn't easy to hit the buttons like that. o.o

          • MerdescuRazvan

            It is... It is.

          • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

            How do you type?

          • MerdescuRazvan

            Did you never type a wrong character while writing a text?

          • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

            I meant how do you type without hitting the space bar constantly - if it's that easy to hit something below the target (referring to the software buttons).

          • MerdescuRazvan

            Also possible... I hit spacebar a lot of times and I'm used to touchscreens since i had the first gen iPhone. Bottom buttons near soft key buttons... Just isn't a good idea.

            Let's stick to that and I can tell you everyone will agree with this. (if they have soft buttons)

          • mgamerz

            I hit X all the time instead of C. Spelling **** is a pain man.

            #FirstWorldProblems

          • nejai

            I hit the f** space bar all the time :/
            But the way that´s why I hate software buttons ergo sticks to samsung by now..

      • Tyler

        I think gestures are the way to go, when you look at apps like the new Google maps, gmail and Google play music, they are easy to use with a large display while not using as much screen real estate. While this is a step in the right direction to organizing the app better, I like having the slide-out side-panel and Facebook desperately needs to get a tablet app.

    • Mark Zuckerberg

      Facebook have only iOS design sorry :)

  • jonathan3579

    I'm a beta tester and I don't have that yet...but then again I don't like that either. I'm just waiting for them to remove the legacy menu button. My HTC One weeps with sorrow.

    • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

      :/
      At least the One 4.2.2 update reintroduces the setting to make holding home button to act as menu so the bar will be gone.

      • jonathan3579

        Sadly, who knows when T-Mobile (or any US carrier for that matter) will push the update. I'd like to keep my warranty intact as long as possible instead of going the custom ROM route.

      • Apa Chen

        It's sad that HTC follow Google's decision to remove menu key form ICS(One X/S) but Google still don't care about this problem two years later.

        • Imparus

          First of they aren't following google guidlines else they would have software buttons, or at least 3 buttons instead of a HTC log :-(
          Second what do you want Google to do? Almost everyone except for facebook have removed the legacy menu, they can't really remove the facebook app, since that will piss of the normal consumers :-/

          • Apa Chen

            Google have two ways to do this. Force OEMs don't use menu key or force developers don't use menu key. Otherwise, OEMs will still use menu key because they don't want to see the menu key(software button). Developers don't care this problem because most phones have menu key. LOOP

          • Imparus

            First how do you suggest they force the OEM to do that? second Samsung and LG are the only ones still implementing a hardware menu key.

            "or force developers don't use menu key"

            I'm sorry but facebook app is the only high profile app that still have the menu key, so what different would it make, and how would you even do it? Facebook app is also the only app on my phone/tablet that have the legacy menu key, everyone else have changed it. How would you even force it upon developers?

            "Developers don't care this problem because most phones have menu key. LOOP"

            Please point me to an app from for this year that use the legacy menu key, I have yet to stumble into one. Since every new app follows the guidelines, then developers DO CARE.

            Can you name some high profile/ apps that have yet to implement the new menu key?

          • Apa Chen

            GPS Test, LINE(more popular than Whatsapp in Asia) and so on. LINE is totally iOS design.

          • Imparus

            GPS Test is actually in the middle of testing a new UI, where they have it removed, so like I was saying developers do care.
            https://www.facebook.com/GpsTest

            Line is really bad, looks like they don't care at all about android, since it it only popular in ASIA where LG, Samsung and apple have pretty much the whole market. It doesn't make it better that iOS has close to 75% market share in Japan, so I doubt that it is gonna change anytime soon.

            Looking at an app like line, the problem isn't just the menu key, it is the whole just porting the iPhone app over without even looking at android.developers guidelines.

            But what does this have to do with Google not caring? They have made it really easy to change away from the legacy menu, but you want them to force the developers and OEM to remove the menu key, so I ask how exactly would you force them to do that?

          • Apa Chen

            It's so easy. Why developers won't do that? You can remove menu key even don't have to follow Android Design(Action bar, Holo style and so on). This means you can keep your own design. Why developers won't do that? It's so easy.
            1. They don't know. => Google don't care. If they do. All developers will know this.
            2. No pressure from Google or consumers. => Google don't force developers to do this. Or most consumers didn't care this. Like you said, SAMSUNG and LG still use menu key. How many Android phones and tablets are made by them? Most!

          • Imparus

            "It's so easy. Why developers won't do that? You can remove menu key even don't have to follow Android Design(Action bar, Holo style and so on). This means you can keep your own design. Why developers won't do that? It's so easy."

            So is English your third languish or something like that, since I'm having trouble understanding what you just wrote?

            "1. They don't know. => Google don't care. If they do. All developers will know this."

            You sentence is quite hard to read, but I will take a guess. You are saying that developers don't know how? If yes, then let me answer it like this, if the developer have looked at the guideline for android in the last two years he/she would know how to do it. It isn't time, since it take less than 5 minutes to implement. You might wonder why some developers haven't implemented it then right? Well a lot of them wait to implement it, since it often doesn't fit their current design, so they need a redesign, and other simply don't care as long as people aren't giving bad reviews.

            "2. No pressure from Google or consumers. => Google don't force developers to do this or most consumers don't care this. Like you said, SAMSUNG and LG still use menu key. How many Android phones and tablets are made by them? Most!"

            Okay, then answer my question, how would google force it? This is the third time I'm asking this question, if you don't answer the question this time I will ignore you since you clearly are a troll or doesn't read my response.

          • Apa Chen

            That's Google's problem not mine.

          • Imparus

            And yet you are saying they can fix the problem if google "Force OEMs to not using menu key or force developers don't use menu key." :facepalm:
            Okay I have clearly overfeed you troll, so I will take my leave before you explode.

      • Guest

        I am beta tester too, and i don't have the bottom bar too.I am on 2.3.3.

    • Anonimen

      I am beta tester too, and i don't have the bottom bar too.I am on 2.3.3

  • randompsychology

    Yuck.

  • BLACKALiCE

    Looks a lot like BB10. Weird.

  • Tim

    Guess they don't follow Android's design guidelines, which state "don't use bottom tab bars" - http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/pure-android.html

    • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

      I could care less about Android guidelines, I want the best experience and definitely buttons at the top are harder to reach in 4.3+ inches displays.

      • http://dabuxian.com/ Dabu

        It doesn't matter, UI on Android is all about swiping, those buttons aren't meant to be reachable, they're meant to show you what page are you on.

        • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

          So to reach the last of the screens I must swipe 3 times instead of being able to press a button?

      • Raloc

        Well it's a good thing that the Android guidelines don't suggest putting buttons at the top. In fact, there isn't anywhere in the guidelines that would suggest you use buttons for navigation at all, because it's dumb as hell. There's dozens of methods for creating navigation and dorky buttons that can potentially cause mishits while also breaking all the groundwork done by the guidelines doesn't help anyone.

        • Paul Taylor

          Superb post - is that pronounced mis-shits? :-)

      • PhillipCun

        Consistency is part of good UX. If all apps followed android design guidelines we would have a better UX across all apps. Dabu is right, Android is about gestures, not about buttons. The top row of navigation serves two purposes:
        1. Navigation - you can swipe or press these buttons
        2. Indicates the page you're on and gives you a sense of where each panel (or page) is so you can swipe to it.

        Thus saying that you "could care less about Android guidelines" and "i want the best experience" is contradicting. Great UX includes consistency, thus you must care about Android guidelines for a good user experience. If you don't like it, try out iOS because it sounds like you prefer their UI with the bottom row navigation.

        • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

          You're assuming following the guidelines offer the best usability for every application and that only Google knows best. Please...

          • PhillipCun

            No, I'm stating that consistency is part of good UX. Guidelines are there to help "guide" design consistency. Having a radically different UI that goes far away from the guidelines forces users to learn a new interface which hinders the UX. Reading comprehension fail. please....

          • Paul Taylor

            No, he's assuming that in the absence of a unique app requirement, it's unlikely that breaking the guidelines will produce a better experience. Plenty of apps include novel UI elements without destroying the overall effect Google are trying to create.

      • http://billhay.es/ Bill Hayes

        "couldn't care less". "could care less" means you care at least a bit, therefore it is possible to care less. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7O0MFkmpw for more.

        Happy to help.

        • Paul Taylor

          Aluminum lol.

      • Paul Taylor

        The Android guidelines are there to benefit the many millions of people who have paid into using Android by buying an Android phone. It says everything that you "could care less" about this. Facebook have a very poor track record with UX so they should be willing to take some official guidance about how to fit in with the rest of the look and feel on our phones, as going their own way (even if it is a "better" way, which it most certainly is not - it looks like something from 2009) will introduce unwanted inconsistency to our Android experience. If you like static rows of menu buttons, you should really be using Apple products - you'll be much more at home, I'm sure.

        • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

          Oh my god I'll switch to iOS today!

          • Michael Ta
          • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

            Gotta love people who understand sarcasm...

          • Michael Ta

            well based on your ideas of not following "guidelines" made by Google throughout this discus here... I came to an assumption that you were serious. So my bad if you weren't.

          • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

            Ok. I'm happy with my Android device and the freedom it gives for app developers to choose not to follow the guidelines when they can't offer the best experience.

    • Oğuz Can Ayverdi

      They haven't been following Android's design guidelines for a long time.

    • simp1istic

      Gmail up until LAST MONTH used bottom tabs on the android app. Its a good thing.

      • Matt McKee

        No it didn't. It had the split action bar, which is completely different. http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/actionbar.html

        • simp1istic

          Oh yeah, that's right, it wasn't functionally useful buttons on the bottom, it was... functionally useful buttons on the bottom. It's the same idea. I never had one single issue with mispressing on the bottom of my ever increasingly huge phones.

          • Paul Taylor

            It's not the same. These buttons are more like a navigation tab with the blue line indicating where you are. It's not a context-aware action bar that actually triggers functions rather than flipping between tabs.

            The thing about action bars etc. is that they can be automatically relocated by Android on larger screens, to make better use of the screen real estate. That's the kind of benefit the guidelines are trying to bring. Of course it's possible to do something great without them, but the developers would have to do a LOT of thinking and coding to pull it off, and Facebook are notoriously weak on that front.

    • ThoFeelExp

      Google+ App also has bottom bar to update on post but not tab bar

  • CamWiseOwl

    Top bar and Bottom bar? I feel sorry for people that can't afford phablets,
    Do Facebook just not have any UX designers? Or are they retarded?

    • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

      Maybe it's because it's a beta...

      • CamWiseOwl

        That makes no sense. Think about what you just said.
        The design is bad in itself, two bars, top and bottom, no consideration shown for the average user. Development phase has nothing to do with it, that's like giving me a version number as a reason.

        • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

          Well it's unfinished and experimental.

          • CamWiseOwl

            They would have had a concept before they start production, you don't make something while designing it as you go along, anybody that isn't a vegetable knows that.

            Plus the app already exists, all they're doing is changing the UI a bit (too much). Unless you mean the app is so badly made that it feels unfinished and experimental - then I wholeheartedly agree!

          • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

            Haha, I think you're right! :D

      • Konstaninos

        @rluik:disqus, stfu already. You post nonsense. Bottom bar sucks. End of story. FFS

        • Konstantinos

          I meant @rluik:disqus

          • Konstaninos

            Wtf, fail messaging system is fail. Carry on. :p

      • Mark Zuckerberg

        This is final design :)

        • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

          ROFLOL

          • Mark Zuckerberg

            What?

      • yahyoh

        its always been Beta -_-

    • Mark Curtis

      I'm sure they do, and they probably all have iPhone. And Apple's way is 'the one true way'.

      • CamWiseOwl

        It was a semi-serious sarcastic jag, I would hope they do have UX designers haha!
        I bet they haven't solved any stability issues though.

  • riki

    look nice

    • Mark Zuckerberg

      very nice :)

  • Darren Henderson

    I didn't know what all the talk about the menu button was until I saw my friend with an HTC One open the Facebook app. Terrible.

  • MerdescuRazvan

    This... sucks big balls. 2 words. SCREEN SPACE. And for the sake of god I have a 4.7 Nexus 4... what will happen to the small screen users if I'm so pissed off?

    • yahyoh

      LOL facebook crappy app hogg memory , battery and now will hogg screen estate ،_،

  • Apa Chen

    I really hate apps bring iOS design to Android. And menu key...

  • http://www.droid-den.com Rachid

    I have this, the navigation panel isn't gone.

    See that last icon along the bottom? The open book thing? Well, that displays the navigation panel in full screen.

    The Earth icon contains all the notifications.

    Literally, the re-design makes no sense at all.

    • RyanWhitwam

      Could you get us some more screens?

  • CuriousCursor

    Looks like BlackBerry 10 :s

    • Mark Zuckerberg

      I HATE BlackShitty

  • Calvin Jed Serrano

    this is not very #HOLOYOLO of them

  • wheineman

    It's summer. Maybe an intern hit something and accidentally pushed something horrible to the beta channel!

    • MerdescuRazvan

      You actually made me laugh :))

      • Paul Taylor

        Hehe... apart from the thin Roboto font, I almost thought it was some ancient version of the app that had been pushed out by mistake. Sigh.

  • Christian

    As if the UI design in the Facebook app wasn't bad enough...seriously someone please send them this link: http://developer.android.com/training/best-ux.html

  • Diego Pretelin

    I got this new appearance like... 4 days ago! I'm in beta testing program though.

    • MerdescuRazvan

      Am there... no UI change...Are you in the US?

      • Diego Pretelin

        Nope, I'm in México

    • DanSan

      in beta as well, no change here

      • Diego Pretelin

        Luck I guess :3

  • selonmoi

    Ugh. iOS tabs with iOS icons. Facebook continues to be the worst.

    • Mark Zuckerberg

      BIG HATEr :D

  • Michael Ta

    alright if this goes real i'm fucking leaving facebook. For ANY paid apps that has a good, usable UI.

  • Facebook CEO

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  • Bluewall

    This doesn't look like Instagram at all.

    • Mark Zuckerberg

      HATEr :)

  • Mark Zuckerberg

    Hello people, look nice new design for Android :)

  • Bluewall

    I'll just leave this here

    • Mark Zuckerberg

      Facebook is Facebook, Instagram is Instagram!!!!

      • Bluewall

        You may want to chill at first. Secondly, just so you know (but you should, you're the CEO of Facebook right?) Instagram belongs to Facebook.

        And, how random is that, they are bringing the almost same bottom bar on Facebook that is on Instagram for ages. WOW.

    • BrianLipp

      that was my first thought too.

    • eliseo

      Hey! My instagram UI is different!

      Go home facebook, you are drunk

  • Jorge Ivan Sanchez Gonzalez

    It's pretty cool

    • Mark Zuckerberg

      Very :)

  • NateCress

    This is a regression. This is iOS style from 2007. Facebook is losing it's edge.

    • Mark Zuckerberg

      This is NICE NEW DESIGN 2013 !

      • NateCress

        LOL! Mark, this design Zucks.

        • Mark Zuckerberg

          SUCK?

          • Nasko Hristov

            Totally. :-)

  • Sven

    Google is taking something into the android design guidelines? WE HAVE TO THROW IT OUT.

    • Mark Zuckerberg

      Desing is new :)

  • Simon Belmont

    It'd be nice if it followed the Holo UI guidelines more. My main gripe is that it's terrible to press those tiny icons on the top on a tablet.

    Facebook needs to at least make those icons on top larger in tablet mode. They could make it so much better if they just made a few minor changes for tablets.

  • Richard Markert

    I really don't care how they change the UI, as long as they FINALLY give me a way to unfollow posts via the mobile app.

  • Brennan

    Not sure if this is new information or not but the legacy menu button is gone in the Facebook beta for the Nexus 7. No such luck for my Galaxy Nexus. Hopefully this means that they're planning on bringing this change to more devices.

  • David M Whittley

    Great idea. More developers should follow the trend. It's pretty stupid to have the navigational buttons we frequently use at the top of 5.5+" screens.

  • sweenish

    The app is already greenified on my phone; if they do go through with this, that'll probably be the last straw for me, and I'll just switch to the mobile site for the few times I do check in.

    • Nasko Hristov

      Same here,mate.

    • Primalxconvoy

      I use either dolphin (with a custom dumbphone user agent) or Opera mini to access the old mobile site. That site still allows you to delete posts.

  • arturodelac

    Why am I not seeing the legacy menu button on my n7?

  • Dan

    Time for a 3rd party Facebook clients roundup? I have at least 7 in mind: Friendcaster, Fast for Facebook, Flipster, Stream for Facebook, Atrium, Spatio, Klyph... each with pros and cons... That's the beauty of Android: there's always another choice.

  • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

    "We don't know how Android works and we just use some tool to port our iOS code to Android thing, then we push to the Play Store." –Facebook.

  • Miah

    Facebook, really? Billion dollar company and you come up with this shit? Sack the designer.

  • Ray

    The Facebook app really loves hogging phone resources. First it was memory and battery, now it's screen real estate.

    Facebook seriously just don't care about user feedback, user experience, Android design guidelines - nothing!

    Do they just not want anyone using there products anymore? Or maybe they think that because their user base is so big, people will just accept whatever shit they put out there regardless of how good or bad it is.

  • alv4

    I also saw this in Facebook for iOS some months ago in the iPhone of a friend of mine, but it never go public and they app after that go back to the normal appareance without any update.

  • deltatux

    By putting the bar at the bottom, Facebook breaks Holo UX guidelines again (not saying that it doesn't already). Facebook NEEDS to rebuild their interface to follow the Holo UX. Twitter and LinkedIn are already using the Holo UX, why can't Facebook?

  • Mike

    Another worst app of decade ......

  • Jamie Moulding

    I'm on the beta and canye see it ... :(

  • Pascal Welsch

    Why doesn't facebook set the target API level to 11 or higher? They should get rid off the Menu Button. They could also easily use the standard Actionbar with two standard Navigation Drawers.

    The facebook app is a really good example of how to develop an android app... NOT.

  • Majeed Hamid

    I wish they do something about the app being slow and battery consuming