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Removing the Need for a Menu Button on Android

01.27.2012
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To many, the inclusion of a menu button on Android phones is a bit messy. After all, the usability of iOS devices is spot on without this function. It makes me happy to see that Google is encouraging people to move away from using the menu button as more devices more to Ice Cream Sandwich, and to use the action bar instead. 

In the blog post,Tim Bray summarises by saying: 

If I had to put this whole post into one sentence, it’d be: Set targetSdkVersion to 14 and, if you use the options menu, surface a few actions in the action bar with showAsAction="ifRoom".

Of course you'll still need to worry about those pre-Honeycomb devices, but Tim's post describes how you can handle this situations fairly easily. 

As an iOS user, I always found the menu button on Android a bit clumsy. The removal of the button allows for a more consistent user experience on apps targetted at either platform, and that has to be a good thing for the end user. 

Is there anyone out there who will actually miss the Menu button? 

 

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Comments

Jean Said replied on Fri, 2012/01/27 - 4:08am

As both an iOS (iPod Touch 3G) and Android user (HTC Desire HD and HTC Chacha), I beg to differ. The menu button is incredibly consistent. When I push it, I get a contextual menu, like with the right click on a mouse. And the same goes for the search button and the back button on Android.

Seriously, I don't see the point of this no-button trend. Give me my physical buttons, always in the same place, always acting the same, instead of those randomly placed buttons in iOS and Android applications, with often inconsistent behavior. I'm no iOS hater, I use many more paid iOS apps than Android one, but these often lack UI consistency.

Anthony Bennis replied on Fri, 2012/01/27 - 6:56am

I've noticed people newer to "technology" and gadgets find the one button approach a lot less intimidating. I remember teaching an aunt how to use a mouse on a Windows PC, and the "Left/right" buttons causing a lot of confusion :P Apple products are more accessible to more people, and the simplicity of their design definitely lends to that. But for someone more comfortable with "technology", the standard set of Android buttons is more productive, in my opinion.

Carla Brian replied on Sun, 2012/04/22 - 8:46am

They incorporated the functionality of the menu button inside an action bar that appeared on top of the screen. If there were additional options that need not be immediately shown to the user, they were hidden inside a drop down menu. - Instant Tax Solutions Reviews

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