“Your app’s structure should be organized according to the content and tasks you want users to see. Focus attention on important destinations by placing them in tabs or side navigation. Alternatively, de-emphasize inessential content by placing it in less prominent locations.”
“People tend to be unaware of the navigation experience in an app unless it doesn’t meet their expectations. Your job is to implement navigation in a way that supports the structure and purpose of your app without calling attention to itself.”
Google has loose rules for navigation and thus gives designers more flexibility for customization. However, this makes it a bit more strenuous for users to grasp the navigational patterns of an application. Google believes that navigation should be obvious and that it can be in many different places. You can use a variety of components such as: action buttons that reveal options, cards that lead in to pages similar to the concept of a dashboard, using tabs, and even highlighting sections by using color coding with icons on a list view.
Apple uses a very simple navigation system that is easy for all users to understand. They use a “tab bar” that is attached to the bottom of the screen with an app’s main functions. Usually containing no more than 5 main functions, a hamburger icon is sometimes listed on the tab bar for less important navigational items, as is the case with the the apple music application. The idea that an app should have no more than 5 main functions forces designers to think carefully about their app’s features (I mean, you only get 5!). Apple also uses “tabs” like Google’s material design spec, but instead uses a component called “segmented control”. Allowing only up to 3 segmented controls maximum again restricting the user and designers options.
Also, Google and Apple’s view differ greatly when it comes to the use of the hamburger icon. Google often uses the hamburger menu for their primary navigation. Once you click on the hamburger it opens up a “drawer” as they call it or conversely a “side nav” for apple. This drawer often times contains a profile picture of the user, login options, profile name and an icon based list of the primary navigation. However, Apple disagrees with this sentiment as believes that primary navigation elements should be present in the foreground and that the hamburger should be used only as a place to store functions that are not daily tasks performed by the user. Apple uses their side nav function to store items they would like out of site by the user. (ex: iOS facebook’s hamburger opens up a side nav that contains preferences and chat details) They do this so users are not distracted by options and have a focused path ( via the bottom tab bar) to follow to get primary functions completed by users.
Overall, both of these companies have an extensive belief system when it comes to the ethos of their applications. Apple tends to have users go straight to the facts and leave any distractions like animation to the wayside. The are practical minded and delight users by using infinite depth and blur effects in iOS. On the other hand, Google’s material design standards lean on the humanist’s side of design. They believe in creating a tactile OS experience that makes you feel like your are holding each screen in your hand. They delight users by using animated techniques that users can relate to every day objects. Navigation is more straightforward for Apple, while Google believes that as long as you make the navigation clear you’re in the green. Both companies are major stars in the arena of user interface design and it is exciting to see how these two schools of design will evolve.