Monday, June 25, 2012

Thumb Reach Area on Smartphones

Luke Wroblewski in his seminar, Designing Mobile Web Experiences, speaks about the area of easy reach in mobile devices. Luke claims that smartphones have preferred reach zones when operated in portrait and landscape orientation. Devices used in portrait orientation are usually operated with one hand, and the preferred reach zone is located in the lower center of the screen.

Devices used in landscape orientation are usually operated with two hands, and the reach zone is significantly different.

While listening to Luke's explanation I realized I have always seen this, but somehow my brain never registered the observation.
Few popular iPhone apps, took this lesson to heart and opted for a custom tab navigation bar, placing the main action in the lower center of the screen. This is, in fact, a convenient location for both left and right handed individuals that operate their smartphone in landscape orientation.

The article below is a collection of different visual designs for tab navigation, most of which seems to emphasize the central tab with a larger size and distinctive style
Examples of iPhone iOS UITabBar Interfaces


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