July 10, 2013 4:29pm
Facebook is reportedly testing a new navigation design for its Android and iPhone apps, eschewing the left-side sliding bar in favour of a simpler permanent bottom menu.
The company has been known to do A/B testing for many of its products, often without consulting the public first, in an effort to better understand its users’ behaviour. This latest change harkens back to the early days of app design, before things like pull-to-refresh and sliding navigation bars were popular.
At this point, the new design is only available for some users and looks to be present only in the beta version through the Play Store. iPhone users seeing the design are doing so through the regular App Store version, so it’s thought to be a server-side change.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the above image, the Android version does not do away with the vexing legacy menu button, so it’s clear Facebook is still building its app on an older SDK version.