Best nav is no nav

Having worked on multiple products over the past 8 years I've realized the thing the most important yet difficult to get right in a product is navigation : how the user find what he's looking for.

Sometimes product designers are focusing so intensely on defining the best functionalities for your business that navigation comes last in their process. However navigation is what will allow the user to find the features he needs to achieve his goals which is a pretty big thing.

In resume navigation should be your concern #2 after the concept of your product because a bad navigation :

  • is a break for adoption
  • decreases the product perceived value


An era of simplification

All this is not really news and some product teams are already constantly working on simplifying their experience. An example is the Facebook messenger app redesign where they have worked a lot on the navigation bar and how to give access to the different features of the app.

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Simplification is great but if done badly it can decrease the ease of use of your products. To do it right, the solution is to always start with what your user needs and when!


Bring magic to your users

A very good example of this is the Uber app. If you consider that a home screen is the screen that displays when you open an app then Uber has 4!

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If you look closely you will see that Uber has created its product entirely around its user's journey :

conf POSS no-nav - uber user journey-1

The result is a product that anticipates user's needs so that users find what they need in less than a second, without nav bar. I like to think of it as bringing magic to your users.


How to get this magic working?

This works very well for Uber as the user journey is very linear. But it can be difficult to make this magic work on more complex user journeys. To show you how you can get this done let's redesign a simple Netflix version with the no-nav paradigm.

Let's start with the current Netflix Home screen :

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1- What your users need and when ?

Now let's analyze our different use cases :

First case: I'm at home or at work or anywhere I have a good internet connection

In this case, 90% of the time I open the app to:

  • Watch something I've started, begin another movie or series from my list / recommended or search for something to watch
  • Downloads episodes/movie for later: by searching the series / movie in my "resume" section, my list, the recommended or the search


Second case: I have a poor internet connection

In these conditions, I'd like to see only content that I can watch and not be muddled with all kind of movie or series that I won't be able to watch


2- Design the new experience

Now if you take another look at the current Netflix Home screen you can see that you can simplify the options you show to your user by only showing what he needs when he needs it:

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If you still have doubts or questions don't hesitate to contact me! Otherwise, I have only one thing left to say:

Bring magic to your users and don't let your habits kill your creativity!

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