July 2015: Mobile Navigation and Menu Design

This Bank Monitor Report reviews the navigation capabilities and menu options included with apps designed for smartphones and tablets. As most firms present at least two, if not up to four different navigation menus across devices, we did not grade firms in this report. We examined the following aspects of each app:

  • Main menus
  • Navigational elements
  • Devices and operating systems

Slideout menus are the most common approach to smartphone menu design, with 50% of firms using them exclusively across both iOS and Android devices. Additional firms use slideout menus on one of these two main platforms. Forty-four percent of firms allow users to open these menus with a swipe in addition to an on-screen button. Thirty-three percent of firms allow users to open menus with the native Android menu button. Slideout menu content varies by firm from five to 25 options.

Three firms exclusively use stationary menus across their platform devices. Four firms use them on their iPhone apps, while one firm limits the slideout to its Android app. These menus work best when they effectively highlight the most important features of transfers, payments and deposits.

One firm released a new iPhone app that does away with the main navigation menu, in favor of contextual links. Users view a list of their accounts upon logging in, and then can select available transaction types or view transaction history within a specific account menu. This structure greatly simplifies the smartphone experience.

Two firms offer voice-enabled help within their mobile apps, allowing clients to navigate menus and execute transactions with voice commands. Users can state a command and view options related to it, often with the ability to initiate a transaction when applicable.

Finally, one firm’s iOS apps allow users to customize menus. As the app is full of menu and account service options, this is an essential feature for users to access the features they use most often.

Additional key findings include:

  • Only one firm’s iPhone app launches a slideout menu from the right side of the screen
  • Eight firms’ smartphone apps use different navigation on iOS and Android
  • Seven firms’ tablet apps use different navigation on iOS and Android
  • 72% of Android smartphone apps incorporate the native Android menu button
  • Only one firm’s Android apps use pop-up menus