carpeaqua on iPhone tab bars

Justin Williams: Die You Damn, Dirty Tab Bar: “Despite my frustrations with the control, I am seeing it pop up in more and more applications.”

I totally see Justin’s points, and agree most ways, most of the time. (Note that NetNewsWire doesn’t have a tab bar, and NetNewsWire 2.0 probably won’t either.)

But I’ve also found that people who aren’t professional iPhone developers like tab bars. My experience is just mine, of course, and it’s mostly to do with news/photo/video apps.

My theory is that, for some people, a tab bar makes an app feel richer, more generous, more professional, more serious.

But that’s just theory, and it may only be applicable to a certain type of app, and I haven’t done a scientific poll or anything.

If I had to give advice, I’d suggest thinking pretty hard about whether or not a tab bar is a good idea. Do some sketches or mockups both ways. Think about room for controls and content. Think about the first-run experience and think about how well the app will wear over time.

08 Jul 2009