If you have used any mobile apps lately you may have noticed that a lot of menus are at the bottom. This is down to how people hold their phones.
49% of people hold their phones in one hand and do most of their scrolling with a single thumb. 36% hold their phones in one hand and do their tapping and scrolling with a finger from the hand. The remaining 15% hold their phones with both hands and do most of their tapping and scrolling with both thumbs.
That means a large majority of people (64%) scroll their phones with their thumbs. But as phone screens have gotten larger, reaching the top parts of the screen with a thumb has become impossible. Thumb scrollers could always adjust their phones but who wants to do that much work?
A small UX revolution
As a reaction, some mobile app designers have started putting their navigation menus and the bottom of the screen and CTA’s in the middle, within easy reach of the thumbs. A great usability improvement for thumb scrollers and a barely noticeable change for the peckers. Some app designers are yet to adapt and web designers haven’t bothered with this usability improvement at all.
Mobile web design still largely follows the old top-down design model with menus on the top left corner, infuriatingly out of reach for 64% of the population unless they go through the hassle of adjusting how they hold their precious phones.
Bottom menus are a convenient usability improvement that you ought to try on your mobile site. Start with an A/B test before full implementation. While almost a given on any mobile app that takes usability seriously, they are next to non-existent on the web.