The Confusion of The Back Button on Android

One of the talks that most struck me (as the surprising topic) the last Google IO 2012 was the one dedicated to the navigation on Android. An entire hour to explain to developers how the back button and the associated actions stack Once we have opened a couple of applications and we sailed between them. If you do need one hour something wrong with Android. To lift the hand who has felt frustrated to give the back button in an application and found on entirely different than expected, even with half of action. Eye, this is blamed both application developers and the own Android operating system.

Points of departure of an Android application

Jelly Bean solves some bugs in that sense, but Android does not stop being inconsistent for the average user, and much more for those who have made the change from iOS. Perhaps they are too many distractions, many points on which we can get out an application and change to another. You can easily switch between applications using the open applications navigation button, click on a notification or perform an action that will lead us from one application to another, for example, the share. Now try to click on the back button: the outcome is uncertain.

A new paradigm, without physical buttons

Google optionally dispensed with the physical buttons, the Galaxy Nexus is an example of the new paradigm which we find ourselves. With this it seemed that navigation would be more consistent between applications, it was a touch of attention to applications that implemented their own buttons back. It was now evident that actions were duplicated, to find the same button back on the same interface (screen).

And I must say that the Holo interface with its consistent design and its commitment to the action bar has rather clarified things, leading to additional navigation. The action of rise up, common for example in Google Play when we sailed between applications within a category and want to return to the top of our navigation (the category where we were). But frankly, it is very sad to see how many Android apps still not implemented it and continue with past problems.

Proposal of usability for the back button

Among several experts in usability is it taking hold increasingly the idea of providing more information to the keys navigation software that you have Android. An example is quite clear on the image below where you can see a small icon that tells us the application to which we will return to the click on the back button. Perhaps with this us better get used to the navigation on Android.

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