Swipe gesture to open navigation bar

I have a friend from out-of-town visiting this weekend, so I may miss tomorrow’s call.

Regarding 3.0, I brought this up last month, but wanted to mention it again. The removal of the “Back Button Behavior” User Interface setting, without alternative navigation options, makes it much more inconvenient to open the nav drawer. It requires you to tap the top left corner. It would be nice if A) the removal could be reverted, or B) some alternate means of navigation between screens could be added.

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You can still swipe to open the navigation bar, even with gesture navigation. Just swipe slightly diagonally. See gif for demonstration of all swipe directions. This works in all apps that have side bars.


This does not work on my Pixel 7, running Android 13, on a recent develop build.

Have you increased the sensitivity of the “back” gesture setting on Android’s settings screen? The screen says “Higher sensitivity might conflict with any app gestures”.

Moved discussion to a new topic

I had it at normal sensitivity. I changed to low, and was finally able to open the navigation drawer. However, it still takes me several attempts. It is also much easier to trigger with my thumb than with my pointer finger.

IMO this is still a significant step backwards in usability.

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Getting easier to trigger the nav menu the more I try. Will probably be much easier once I train my thumb properly.

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I personally have yet to use the new build being discussed, but I depend on back button behavior setting — as do many AntennaPod users. I access pods by tag/folder drop-downs in the side nav/drawer, which also allows me to see new episode count at a glance (an important workaround for new ep notif bugs). It’s imperative that ease of opening and closing side nav retains both options.

Since we can’t depend on phone manufacturers to remain consistent, especially as more companies deviate from stock Android (RIP OnePlus), it’s risky to remove such a stable uniform feature. As we can already see, Samsung is being it’s usual petty self & not playing well with others. Unless back gesture/button needs to be utilized for diff app function going forward (other than exiting), it’s harmless to simply leave it be as an option.

I also gotta represent my people with tendonitis and thumbs: Android moving hamburger menu to top-left & only alt is extending thumb to middle-left edge for swipe, is murdering our thumb-joints (except for lucky left-handed peeps). It’s an accessibility issue. Phones are [still] getting bigger, wallets getting smaller, and hands remain the same. Mine have hypermobile joints (fun party trick, but painful existence in thicc phone-era). However, lots of people dislocate thumbs repeatedly throughout their day by over-extending thumb across screen while fingers grip phone. Most don’t notice until tendonitis develops.

Some final considerations for not killing the back button:

  • Muscle memory’s hard to break & learning diagonal gesture for just one app (not intuitive), with no back button to lean-on, is too much to ask of users
  • Accessibility features, work-arounds for OS bugs, broken/faulty screens, et al all depend on hardware button functionality/core gestures
  • Shortcuts & Tasker profiles depend on back button behavior & can’t do diagonal gesturing
  • Wet and cold hands need hard buttons/simple gestures (think of the gloves!)
  • Joint health is destroyed by repetitive motion & overextension. Arthritis is hitting younger & younger b/c screens are too big for human hands… Especially for the 50% of the global population — who are women.
    • Phone manufacturers, just like the rest, don’t consider women when designing products.
      • Contrary popular myth — not even kitchens are designed with women in mind. That ole “go back to the kitchen where you belong, woman!!” phrase isn’t just bad, it’s ironic. How can one belong somewhere that requires step-stools, balancing on tiptoes, not leaning over stove tops (:fire:), finding something to knock shit off the top shelf with? You get the idea.
    • Jokes aside… as a female with hands, and a phone (and tired thunbs) — I really need that back button. :pray:t3:

I for one really appreciate the thoughtfulness & creativity behind making swipe gesture diagonal to avoid accidental swipes. I look forward to getting this in an update, but it’s gotta come with back button option lifeline. These navigation tools fundamentally work in tandem. Due to app’s central design around side nav menu (which is technically a drawer, FYI) — nothing can justify removing back button menu functionality. Arguably, back button nav setting should be enabled by default, given its utility is so intuitive to Android users that I almost deleted this app right after download 3 yrs ago out of frustration… until I found this setting — b/c I couldn’t accomplish much before accidentally exiting the app over & over & over again! Thank God I went thru settings before uninstalling, because I love this app.
Both features can, and should, coexist. New menu gesture will be major improvement, but only if back button isn’t arbitrarily removed just to hardily nudge OG users into dependency on singular gesture. If it ain’t broke, don’t remove it! I beg you.

The world needs more gestures — not less!

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