Over the past few days there have been multiple reports of a new update to the Netflix app on iOS and Android devices, which includes a design overhaul for the streaming service’s navigation bar on smartphones. Instead of placing every piece of navigation within the top lefthand corner “hamburger” menu, Netflix has introduced a simpler tab bar at the bottom of the app with four tabs for Home, Search, Downloads, and More.
Previously, the left-handed menu housed profile switching, notifications, downloads, My List, and various themed categories. Now, these options are mostly located in the “More” tab, and Netflix has broken out Search and Downloads as a quicker method of jumping into those areas of the app. TV and film categories are also now located in the Search tab, including those Available for Download, Netflix Originals, Action, Dramas, Horror, and more. On Android, it appears that there will be an additional tab for users called “Coming Soon,” displaying TV shows and movies launching soon on Netflix.
Apple encourages developers to use tab bars at the bottom of their apps in its Human Interface Guidelines, since they’re easier to use one-handed and provide more information at a glance. Two years ago Spotify made a similar change, replacing its hamburger menu with five tabs for Home, Browse, Search, Radio, and Your Library, akin to Apple Music’s tabs on iOS. Earlier this month, Google Maps added a bottom tab bar in its iOS app as well, so users could easily jump to Explore, Driving, or Transit information.
Netflix’s rollout plan for the new tab bar remains unclear, with some iPhone and iPad users already seeing the update and others remaining on the older hamburger menu style.
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