Navigation Drawer

Google's Android developers have delivered a great video all about the new Navigation Drawer

We've talked before about how the Android team is serious about design. They want Android, and the great apps that developers create, to not only work well, but to look good. We noticed this at Google I/O in May, that there was a new (and long-awaited) focus on building applications that look like they belong. Apps with a consistent and elegant user interface, versus the jumble of different design styles and choices of the past. 

It's a big undertaking. You have to account for different screen sizes, devices with or without the recommended button layout, and most of all you need to find a fluid look and feel that works well for the end user. Nobody likes an app that is difficult to use. Google tried to get everyone on-board with the action bar method, and it's a great solution for some things. But sometimes, you need to get dirty and have a list of user choices and options. That's where the new Navigation Drawer concept comes into play.

Grab your phone. Open the YouTube app or Google Play Books app. Swipe your finger to the right on the main screen (view). That's the new Navigation Drawer at work. Google Play Books could probably get away with just an action bar and overflow area (those three dots in the upper right) but the YouTube app has plenty of choices and options that would otherwise be buried three levels deep. The Navigation Drawer seems like a perfect way to present them all to the users -- you and me.

A lot of thought went into this, and luckily the Android developers are willing to share their thoughts about it all. Join Roman Nurik, Jens Nagel and Rich Fulcher after the break for 47 minutes of great information about why, where and when you would want to use the Navigation Drawer. Even if you're never going to design an Android app, it's a great watch and really drives the idea home.

Source: Android Developers YouTube


Reader comments

Everything you want to know about Android's new Navigation Drawer


The Navigation Drawer is so nice, that I don't even like apps that don't even have one.

Posted via Droid RAZR M on the Android Central App

The navigation bar on the bottom of Nexus devices is still a waste of screen space. Google needs to include something like LMT Pie navigation where a swipe from edge & release to quickly access navigation in all apps, without taking up dead screen space all the time. I use it and disable navigation bar on a rooted Nexus 4.

I love it, but it's often difficult for me to open on many apps. I end up selecting content instead, and trying multiple times.
I wish the "activation thickness" could be increased.

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Uh... Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure they do. I can grab the left of my app screen and I get a bunch of options.

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Thanks Phil. What is the feature that you guys use then when I swipe on the side of my screen and I can get to "Home" or "Forums"? Just something similar?

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Haha thanks brother. :-)

Don't rush, I have plenty of time... Three weeks in Jacksonville on business and I'm here by myself so I got time to waste.

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And it is exactly what you would call an action bar.. referring to what you get when you swipe from the left of the screen. They just need to get rid of the 3 dot menu button at the top and put the minimal options you get when you click it (sometimes 1.. sometimes 3) in with the action bar that already exists. You were correct in assuming this is what the swipeable menu is. The action bar. Phil has an overly big head on his shoulders for my taste (literally and figuratively) and I guess you wouldn't call me his biggest fan. I'm sure all the Phil groupies will rip me for this statement, but just keep in mind I won't lose any sleep over it.

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I was saying wow sarcastically because one might think someone as big headed as Phil should know what it is. "Honestly I have no idea" is about right though. Good job Phil. Don't hold your breath for him to "find out for ya" ... we already know what it is anyway

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Sorry... still early for me. I meant to say navigation drawer instead of action bar to stay on the same page and not confuse things here, but really it's the same thing anyway. Just clarifying

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TL;DW. (Seriously 47 minutes to explain something so simple is nuts.)

But I do know the few uses I have see of this to date do not impress.

Its un-obvious, you only have the smallest of hints that it exists at all, and that hint is on the same bar as the three dots, so zero gain.

1. While I haven't watched it yet, Jerry's description makes it sound like the video's main audience is developers. It may not interest you because you're not its target audience.

2. The YouTube and G+ apps make good use of it (instead of filling the action bar overflow with way too many buttons). Something like this normally improves and matures with time.

3. They're probably still working on the discoverability. Again, it hasn't fully matured yet.

Posted from my HTC EVO 4G LTE via Android Central App

I LOVE this concept! Being a Systems Engineer (and leading projects) in a company that develops systems with a touchscreen GUI, I always try to pay attention to consistency, etc. because for some reason SW engineers don't.

To make it easier for everyone, we created our own custom library of dialog boxes, buttons, menus, etc. and this greatly improved the GUI but in the end there still has to be one person (can't have multiple) who cleans it all up.

Anyway, it's pissing me off how Google for some reason can't have consistent Navigation Drawer for all Google apps. Take a look at Music/Books/Mags for instance. They are very consistent and clean looking. But then you go to Gmail/YouTube/G+/Currents and they are all over the place...... fonts/colors/divider bars. WHY!? It's sooooo simple to just make it one of the Controls in the library and this way it'll be the same for ALL developers who want to use it.

Music/Books/Mags are built to unify the experience with playstore. when you open these app from playstore or open playstore from these app it wont feel like a different app is opened.

and the rest apps are designed to suite the content of the app.
nothing wrong with different apps having different looks and that might also mean its a good design.

you cant square blocks like in youtube on gmail for messages. thats would be the worst design

I saw this on Evernote before I saw it in YouTube. Gmail could use use it too. The action bar is way too high. I would prefer it on the bottom where it's handy. And simply add a three-dotter colon to the right of the message (like you see on every app at Play Store) for the deleting or a archiving options. And possibly have a mirror option for the left-handed ppl.

Hmm. So when you grab from the left of an app like in YouTube or Google books, or this app and you get a drawer that's not what they're talking about? Because they said you grab from the right and now I'm confused.

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It's pissing me off how Google for some reason can't have consistent Navigation Drawer for all Google apps. Take a look at Music/Books/Mags for instance.

They copy Microsoft's multi task bar and this is their new design? Guess MS is doing something right for a change when people start copying them again.