I'm currently doing a small research concerning the use of bottom tabbars on mobile websites. A lot of native mobile applications are switching to a bottom tabbar as a primair navigation. In my opinion this is a logical result of bigger phones with larger screens which makes it harder to reach a topbar navigation with one hand. The use of text labels (+ icons) and focus on important pages helps defending a bottom tabbar against a hidden navigation within a hamburger icon.
The only real disadvantage for a bottom tabbar that i've discovered is more a technical one. Using it means that is has to be sticky to the bottom, which means (in the case of Safari on iOS) that the default state of the browser controls stays as it is (which is already using 16% of the screen) and doesn't collapse like it usually does.
Some additional info:
- Facebook and Spotify recently switched to a bottom bar navigation
- Google is testing a version of Chrome for Android that places its controls at the bottom of the screen
- Apple kind of confirming the issue with large screens and topbar navigation with the Reachability feature on iOS 8
So my question is:
Do you ever choose for a bottom tabbar in your mobile web design and why not?