Mobile web app back button

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  1. Providing proper Back navigation
  2. Designing Sans-Back Button
  3. Considering Appropriate PWA Iconography
  4. Exit the app with back button on home screen
  5. Providing proper Back navigation | Android Developers

A bit unrelated, but would it also be possible to check navigation-control position or orientation? Example is a non-fullscreen PWA with nav docked to bottom yet the browser has its navbar also in the bottom. This can lead to serious usability issues, and is a fairly common issue on iOS, not sure about Android. Most browsers don't have a very prominent share button, so it's generally acceptable to show one within the page.

It doesn't really trigger the "silly double back button" syndrome that an in-page back button does. You shouldn't assume this. A solid counter-example would be Android, which would have a back button but no other nav bar. I'd rather not do this. We don't want to expose too much logic about the browser UI to the site, since sites should generally be agnostic as to the browser UI, and we end up baking too much into the spec. That's why I'm carving a very small and explicit space here: I don't really want to get into the business of differentiating top, bottom, hardware, software, in-window, system-UI, etc.

Fair point on the share button, but I do have some follow-up remarks. And since iOS Safari does not yet support the Web Share API, there really is no comparison between an in-app share functionality and the real thing from the browser. So whilst you can safely mimic "back" functionality from inside a PWA, you can't for "share" functionality.

Not in a cross browser way. For me enough reason to not use full screen at all, but that's a separate discussion. Either way, good to hear this may be potentially be extended with extra buttons, that would solve it. We don't want to expose too much logic about the browser UI to the site, since sites should generally be agnostic as to the browser UI".

From a purely pragmatic spec point of view, I get it. Still, playing the devil's advocate here. The origin of your request is to solve a problem with a specific situation of browser UI therefore not agnostic interfering with a PWA UI. Your proposal tries to solve this by doing browser UI detection. Double back navigation and interfering bottom navigation are two problems of the very same kind. Why solve one problem, but not the other?

They are both usability problems of multiple navigation systems interfering with each other. Do you have a conceptual reason for this distinction? Or is it purely pragmatic to keep a spec small? To provide the context again, the present issue came out of I would politely disagree. Right now, you can treat the Share API as a progressive enhancement and fall back to in-app share buttons or libraries seamlessly without sharing to apps, of course. Apart from that, moving the navigation bar could on some UAs even be a configurable option.

Just one thing: For example, a normal browser window would have the back-button but what happens if the user switches to fullscreen: Would the value be dynamically updated in this case? Likewise, most recent OS allow to switch almost any app to fullscreen in which case the back button that was there previously isn't visible anymore.

Sometimes you can make it appear like moving your mouse on the top of the screen , but sometimes you have to first exit fullscreen to make it appear again. Not to throw a wrench in the works, but why have this in CSS? This sort of a control back button, but also forward, etc. Although there's a world of difference between the power in both share modes, I can see how its less essential than back navigation. And here I will politely disagree at a conceptual level. They may not be comparable as to in which spec they belong, from a user perspective they are very similar problems, and I'd consider users over implementers based on the web mantra.

Double back navigation is browser UI interfering with app UI. Conceptually a similar problem, reasoned from a user. Like this the app can adapt based on the window state.

Providing proper Back navigation

Note that you can also be notified through a MediaQueryList listener when changes happen. Can you describe a concrete situation where it would be useful to distinguish between a system back button at the top versus bottom? What is "interfering bottom navigation"? Generally, apps should show a back button if there is no system back button, and not show one if there is a system back button.

I think the best practice is to control it through CSS; that way you don't need to write complex and possibly error-prone event handler logic to update the state.


  • Published by Mathieu on March 29, 2018.
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Having a simple hidden DOM element is not a big overhead, though I'm willing to be proven wrong with data. Note that this mirrors the display-mode property which is also a CSS media query. You can match media queries in JavaScript with matchMedia. The button itself requires JavaScript to function. This thread began with a simple use case: And, if it were a JavaScript API, we can eliminate the dependency issues that can cause a breakdown in the interface and a poor user experience.

That makes it possible to avoid:. This also keeps the logic neatly in one place and could even lead to our ability to look at other potentially interesting things:. For example, having sticky navigation in the bottom whilst browser chrome is also in the bottom. Or worse, sticky navigation in the bottom with OS gestures interfering as seen on iPhone X. CSS-based rendering is pretty much superior in every way, every time. No delay, no screen jumps.

Just because a button requires JS to run doesn't mean detection or rendering needs to happen in JS? When dependencies are not met, you introduce both UX and accessibility issues. Enabling this feature in CSS is not, in and of itself, an issue. People could still code defensively and avoid these issues. But it does make it far easier to do the wrong thing, encouraging designers to include the button in their markup by default, relying on CSS to sort out whether it should be displayed, ignorant of the fact that the JavaScript dependencies the button relies on may not be met and that some user agents visiting the page without support for the CSS feature would display the button by default.

Sure, you could set the default display state to "none" in CSS and then show it only when you know there is no native back implementation shown, but a quick survey of what developers actually do and tell others to do on Stack Overflow shows this more defensive, user-friendly approach is more the exception than the rule. I guess we disagree on what the right thing is.

JS-based rendering in my view is never a best or better practice over solving the same problem in CSS. Don't want to side track the original proposal though with a long and hairy theoretical discussion, so I'd say agree to disagree: Won't this be true for just about every element on the page?

Designing Sans-Back Button

A modern webpage is bound to have dozens to hundreds of buttons on it that don't do anything if JavaScript is disabled or broken. In practice, it's essentially a requirement of the modern web that JS is working properly, so having an entire page of non-functional UI is a big problem, but it's rare or indicative of a bigger issue. Now you could follow a strict practice where every UI element that needs JavaScript to work is not included in the base page's HTML, but is instead inserted by JavaScript at load time, to ensure an "all or nothing" experience, but there are major downsides to this UI loading in sporadically, not part of the initial page load.

Post navigation

We should give developers this affordance for conditional UI like the back button. Basically, your point of view is valid, but it is one of a handful of valid approaches. Providing this as a CSS query supports all approaches, whereas providing it as a JavaScript method supports only your approach. Hi all! Wanted to jump in and try to provide a related use cases and problems we ran into with the Twitter PWA, in the hopes it informs the current discussion:.

For instance, right now in the Twitter PWA, we actually go to great lengths to make back behavior sensible. Only "pages" have "routes", things like dropdowns or sheets do not. This is a small distinction, but consider the UI patterns across devices. So now we have: This will allow us to take advantage of the following aspect of the popstate event: So now during our popstate handler we can distinguish between the history entry we are using to prevent the back-button-closes-app behaviour versus history entries used for routing within the app, and only re-push our preventative history entry when it specifically has been popped: Here's my anti-frustration code: John T.

But in fact that is not the case. Instead it is impossible to close the app programmatically via history. Try it. Invoke as many history. What will exit the app: Excellent solution, however in my experience there is no need for maxBackPresses - 1 for android. Sign up or log in Sign up using Google.

Considering Appropriate PWA Iconography

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Exit the app with back button on home screen

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Providing proper Back navigation | Android Developers

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