I’ve had a lot of blood loss while using some apps which have implemented Floating Action Buttons (FAB) all wrong.
FABs have been misused all the time in apps. And it’s hard not to. They look so elegant, and classy, and pretty!
But, what a lot of app designers have forgotten that they are intended to be used for one action, which is the most used action of the screen. Primary action for the screen. Not all the possible actions on the screen. And certainly not the action which you’ll be using once in a blue moon.
Take Pocket for example.
I always used Pocket as something where I consume content. It’s like an RSS reader where I put the content. This makes reading the biggest “action” in the app.
The most common workflow is to open the app when you’re bored/have time and start reading to finish your queue. You don’t use Pocket as a means to store information which you might want to find or search for, later.
This is why the search button as the FAB doesn’t make sense. Search isn’t the primary action of this screen. Heck, it’s not even an action many people even take, or want to take. Unless there is some business reason behind this, I just can’t justify Search as the primary action button.
Similarly, in the recommended section of Pocket, the thing app expects me to do the most is find people to follow, when in fact I want to find content to read. Although to their credit, Follow is still an action which will be performed with some major frequency, and there is a justifiable business case to make the follow button as FAB.
In both these screens, the FAB have been kind of useless, and when analyzed properly, feel like they had been added to make the app adhere to conventions of material designs.
This comes in the way of using the app when, for example, they hide content behind them, or just attracts my attention away from the main thing.
These buttons would have worked good if they had been in action bar, and not floating above everything.
So next time you’re designing an app, please don’t just put in a floating button, think hard about the use and the most common workflow and then think about whether an FAB is needed.
Comment or tweet to me some other apps you saw where an FAB was put which served no purpose.
Thanks for reading!