The importance of going back

July 7, 2014
275 words, a 2 minutes read

As people, we want to go somewhere. We want to learn what’s new and improve our image of the world. But as with every journey, there is one mandatory question: how do we get back?

This is one of the things the iPhone made right: a big button you can’t miss to get to get back to your Home (!) screen. Older feature phones have either implemented a back button in each “app” (at different locations) or you can press the Hang up-button. However, this has two disadvantages

  • Back buttons are not consistent
  • Hang-Up is not intuitive
  • Hang-Up “force” closes the app

You might argue that back button implementations are still up to the developer, but we have far better guidelines that become less optional as time goes. You may think that Hang-Up is like quitting an app, but it’s not like it says on the button “Press me to go back”. It’s one of the features you’ll be more likely to discover by accident.
Did you even know this feature? Leave a note in the comments.

It’s important to know that people want to have a starting point. When you plan a trip, the first step is to decide where to start at all. That’s why most manuals begin with “On your Home screen, (…)”.

Having a starting point helps people remember where they are. If you feel lost, just press Home to be safe and sound. It’s not like Hansel and Gretel, where you’d have to leave a trail of breadcrumbs. It’s not like the cave men exploring a new cave, not knowing if they ever get back. This is 21st century stuff.