Bottom Navigation for Mobile: UX Design

Vladislav Gavriluk

Vladislav Gavriluk

CEO & Founder at Arounda

 Navigating the world of UX design has its challenges, but things get even trickier when it comes to mobile UX Design. In this article, we will review some of the main UX design principles, specifically focusing on the bottom navigation essential for a mobile solution. Professionals from Arounda are happy to share some rules and tips verified on dozens of projects we’ve completed during seven years on the market. 

Table of Contents

The Four Cs

Mobile app design is meant to be accessible and intuitive. Creativity is great, but you shouldn’t sacrifice some aspects just to be original. There is no point in pretty design choices if users can't navigate the application easily. To avoid misunderstandings, let's go over some fundamental UX Design Rules. Let us introduce you to the rule of four Cs. Every C stands for the fundamental aspect of UX design — Clarity, Consistency, Conciseness, and Coherence.


A clear and easily understandable interface is key to user satisfaction. Imagine the navigation system as a helpful guide that should smoothly lead users through the app. To achieve this, prioritize content and navigation based on the tasks people are most likely to need. The goal is to create an intuitive design that allows users to concentrate on the app's content without distractions.


Predictable design is a comfortable design. Create a safe space with patterns users can rely on when navigating the app. Do not move buttons around; do not switch up functionality. Make a decision and stick to it so users can stick to the app. Consistent UX Design involves maintaining a recognizable look and feel across the app, including applying the same style and functionality across different screens and features. Allow users to predict and understand how the system behaves, creating a sense of familiarity, which will later turn into trust.


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Get your priorities straight to figure out which buttons are essential. User attention is limited, so the choice has to be made to prevent information overload. Short and to-the-point content prevents users from feeling overwhelmed and stimulates quicker decision-making. By simplifying the user journey, you pave the way for a more satisfying and effective experience overall.


Simple, Clean, and Consistent design means nothing if app navigation lacks logic. This brings us to the fourth C of all — Coherence. The UX Designers are responsible for creating a unified experience where every element, from visuals to interactions, fits together logically. Keep mobile design coherent with web design and the company’s branding. Pave the way to successful interaction by maintaining brand identity and the logical structure of the app.

Specifics of Mobile UX Design: Why Do Thumbs Matter?

When it comes to designing for smartphones, keep in mind human physicality. It is not a cursor that you have to work with; it is a hand with limitations. People tend to use one thumb to operate their phones. Therefore, it makes sense to consider thumbs. Place frequently used actions at the bottom of the screen for comfortable interactions.

Additionally, remember that a computer mouse is more precise than a thumb. People use phone apps on the go, so their touch is not very targeted. Adjust to it by avoiding targets smaller than 7 mm square. Microsoft recommends a touch target size of 9 mm square or larger to make it easy for users to tap accurately.

Tips for Bottom Navigation Design

Now that we are familiar with the four Cs of basic UX Design and know what to keep in mind when designing for a mobile app specifically, let's address bottom navigation design. 

Bottom navigation is a user interface pattern commonly used in mobile app design to provide quick and easily accessible navigation options. It is usually located at the bottom of the screen and includes a series of icons, text labels, or both, representing different functionalities within the app. Simply put, it is a stripe of icons at the foot of the app with essential and most clickable icons, also known as the bottom menu. Let's go over tips for successful bottom tab design.

Limit Options

Keep the number of buttons in the mobile bottom navigation bar up to five. Users' memory and attention are limited, so do not overwhelm them with extra icons. Remember the lessons above about simplicity, prioritization, and coherence—pick five buttons and stick to them.

Offer Feedback

Give users contextual feedback to inform them about their current location within the app. Design a clear distinction between active and inactive states of buttons. Use visual cues, such as changes in color or style, to guide users through different sections of the app.

Ensure Visible Navigation

Strive to keep the bottom menu visible at all times. Allow users to access main buttons whenever they want. Unlike other navigation patterns that may hide during scrolling, persistent visibility of the app bottom navigation bar is essential.

Utilize Notification Badges

Design small and subtle notification badges within the mobile bottom navigation. Subtly highlight updates or messages without overpowering the associated icons. Approach badge usage strategically, ensuring they are noticeable enough to grab user attention without becoming overwhelming. Reserve badges for essential notifications to maintain their impact.

Isolate from Primary Content

Keep the bottom navigation visually separate from the main content to avoid confusion. Reduce the possibility of accidental taps or misclicks during user engagement. By isolating the bottom navigation bar from the primary content, you leave less space for potential mistakes.


We hope our overview will help you navigate the intricacies of the mobile navigation UI design. As you can see, it can be complicated, and creating a bottom navigation bar UI comes with its set of challenges. Don't tackle them alone — reach out to Arounda, where we can make the best choices together. With a team of professionals and a track record of successful projects, Arounda is here to enhance your UX design, starting from the bottom nav bar and ending in a perfect final product tailored just for you. Contact us to elevate your designs from good to great.

Vladislav Gavriluk
Vladislav Gavriluk
CEO & Founder at Arounda
I make sure our clients get the high-quality result from the beginning stage of the idea discovery & strategy to the final digital product.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is bottom navigation?

    Bottom navigation is a user interface pattern commonly used in mobile app design, featuring a row of icons at the bottom of the screen. It provides quick access to navigation, typically showing the main functionalities within the app.

  • What are the four golden rules of navigation design?

    Firstly, know where you are. Secondly, know what you can do. Then, know where you are going. And finally, know where you've been. By remembering these four golden rules of navigation designers can make interfaces that help users easily understand any app.

  • How to design the bottom navigation bar in Android?

    Use clear icons with concise labels, limit items on the bottom navigation bar to less than five, maintain a consistent order and clean interface, highlight the active item for instant feedback, ensure accessibility, and test on various devices for a consistent experience. The same principles can be used for creating the IoS bottom bar.

  • What are touch-target optimizations for mobile apps?

    To accommodate the less precise nature of thumbs compared to a computer mouse, avoid targets smaller than 7 mm square. Following Microsoft's recommendation, aim for a 9 mm square or greater touch target size. This ensures that interactions remain comfortable and user-friendly on mobile devices.

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