BlackBerry 6 Poll: Do you use the new 'navigation bar' to move between homescreen views (All, Favorites, Media, etc.)??

By Kevin Michaluk on 1 Nov 2010 11:13 am EDT
Homescreen Navigation Bar
a. the Navigation Bar moves you between Views

Ever hear that saying Less is More? With BlackBerry 6, RIM packed a lot more features and functions into the maturing BlackBerry operating system (check out our BlackBerry 6 Review for an exhaustive breakdown of everything new). While I'd argue most of the changes and new features are for the greater good, such as Universal Search which I absolutely LOVE, one of the more prominent changes I still have mixed feelings about is the new Navigation Bar on the homescreen which allows you to toggle between views (or panes) to see different groups applications and shortcuts. The default views in BlackBerry 6 are All, Favorites, Media, Frequently Used and Downloads. With the pre-BlackBerry 6 operating system, you essentially just had All

For me personally, I've always been a fan of simple themes. So even on OS 5, where I could download a number of third party themes that offered more functionality and "swoopiness" (to quote Adam) than the standard Precision Zen theme, I'd tend to stick to the default theme as it was simple. I never wasted time looking for things and once I re-arranged my icons on the homescreen to my liking, I always knew where everything was. In comparison, I find navigating the homescreen icons in BB6 to be a bit of an unwieldy experience. I typically stay on the All or Favorites view, but often times find myself unintentionally moving into another view, which then makes it tricky to find what i want to open and takes time to do - the end result being I use Universal Search to find less frequently used apps instead of launching them directly by navigating to them. 

I do like the concept of having views, but I guess I wish they were customizable. If I could remove a few views and re-label them to improve the efficiency of the homescreen experience, I think I would be in love with it. But maybe that's just me... hence this poll! Take your vote above and let us know where you weigh in on the new homescreen view experience in BlackBerry 6, and sound off in the comments with your likes, dislikes and suggestions.

Reader comments

BlackBerry 6 Poll: Do you use the new 'navigation bar' to move between homescreen views (All, Favorites, Media, etc.)??


I never ever ever use the different views.

And if I accidentally go to different view (frequent, download, etc.) I always just swipe back to All.

I hate the views and wish they would make it simple like OS 5.

Theres not a moment I look at my phone and wish the homescreen was OS 5 style. I've tried other themes but most are even worse. I love my torch but it by far the worst, most annoying part about it

I use the navigation bar about 30% of the time. I keep my "ALL" tab organized to my liking so I don't have to switch tabs a lot. Outside of that I use "Universal Search". If the tabs were gone I wouldn't miss them. Still like being able to slide the "ALL" tab up and down.

I like it this way even if I don't use so much... Its much better then the OS5... I have an 9630 and 9800 so as far as I'm concerned, the OS6 UI and views are just better over the stuck OS5.

i find favourites and frequent are pretty much the same as they are your top used apps, so one of those panels is a waste

You actually can have it back to the OS 5 style... kinda. I downloaded the Theme Studio 6 and it allows you to create the 4.7+ style themes, with the 5.0+ transitions. Very cool.

I use my bb primarily as a business tool. I have tried many different Today Themes on OS 5 and none really gave me an all inclusive view of notifications. With OS 6, the new center message / notification drop down is a direct fit for ANY Today Theme user. This little drop down shows ALL notifications dynamically and ONLY the items that have messages or notifications, allowing you to drill-down on the message. This is by far the best feature of the OS 6 Home Screen for me. I would suggest a survey that included this feature.

I just don't like that you can't set one of the other views as your default view, that "All" has to be the home one. I'd much rather be able to use my "Favorites" or "Frequent" folder as my main one.

Using the tray features / nav bar of OS 6 isn't bad other than the stupid frequent tray - I find that feature useless. Other than that, the other trays are handy but I prefer Riley's Precision L theme using OS 6 icons with hidden today (when I used OS 5). I also don't care for the large "block" dedicated for notifications. They could have reduced this block as many of the OS 5 themes did without taking away from functionality.

I use the multiple home screens all of the time. The feature has essentially become a core part of my Blackberry experience already.
I feel it is in need of more options for customization, such as which home screens to hide. I could easily do without "downloads" and "frequent", which only get in my way.

I'm on the fence. I do like it in principle, but...

1) too many views. Give me three - that way I can go left, go right, without ever being more than one swipe away from the view I want. If I had the ability to customize or disable certain views, it would be perfect.
2) I often use the End key to quickly return to the home screen. Unfortunately when you do that, it resets your current view to the top of All -- so while I'd like to keep "Favorites" up 90% of the time, I can't without a serious change in behavior (to stop using the End key).

(Unrelated... about the notification bar...)

1) The notification bar is great, I love it - but once I click it, I can't swipe up to hide it the way I can swipe down to hide the views.
2) more inconsistent behavior: the standard component that lets notifications be displayed in the title bar should also let you click to go to those notifications. It's annoying to be in an app, see I have a new email -- click the top out of habit, and have nothing happen.

If I had the

A lot of ppl saying go back to 5.0 looks or even 4.7, its beacause blackberry has a lot of ppl adverse to change is why ppl say they don't have to innovate

I would take out favorites and just keep frequent cuz having both is redundant
I like the notification bar, its really cool and like someone else said the built in today feature is great, no more extra themes to get it
But I switch to the media panel a lot when I'm showing something so like pictures, cuz god knows I don't know the file name so univesal search won't work

On OS5 I was always trying different themes to see what worked best for me. On OS6 I tried a couple different themes and found none compared to the default one.

I almost never go to frequent but I spend about half my time between favorites and all. I also go to media whenever I want to see pictures or videos or...anything media related.

For the people that want the user interface from OS5. Go get any theme that doesn't have the OS6 UI. There are a lot of them.

Seeing how many people like the older style. Maybe they should pre-install a zen theme and then the OS6 theme...?

That may make some people happy that don't like change... :)

I am kidding of course. People use their phones in many different ways. :)

I gave up on my 9800 largely because I couldn't stand the fact that I couldn't customize the home screen as I can on my 9700 using a theme like DreamTorch36 (which also gives me the notification bar).

Favourites is really clunky - every time you change themes you lose all the settings, for example - and Frequent is pointless because of course you are going to put your most-used apps at the top of your All tab. As for Downloads, why highlight them? They are often apps I'm trying out or updating and I'll put them where they fit with everything else, thanks.

If only I could rename the tabs (Games, Settings, News, Social Apps etc) and spread my apps across them so I had 8 or so in each and I could put the principal apps (Mail, Calendar etc) in a Home tab which I could get back to from anywhere by pushing the red phone key, that'd be perfect.

I would love the screens more, and use them more, if I could customize them the way I want. Give me an All screen, then let me choose what's in the others. As it is, many seem redundant and with the bug of Favorites moving icons around on you, I mostly stick to All.

I only use All and Favorites...mainly All...I would love to delete downloads which is absolutely useless, and frequent and favorites is pretty much the same thing

All the time I am accidentally going over to the 'All' group from my 'Favorites' group (and other groups) as I scroll (I'm using a beta OS6 on my 9650). I wish there was a way to either lock the views, or not be able to go from view to view unless you had the view title highlighted.

They just ended up complicating things even further in an attempt to make things better.

The all and favorites is a wonderful idea but all the rest are just a waste of time. I keep mistakenly navigating to the wrong view and end up spending more time than i would on my OS5 device.

Had all my folders customized and knew exactly where everything was

I think the main problem stems from the fact that what you do in one panel doesnt coordinate with the other. If theres a downloads panel, than all my downloads should "ONLY" be in downloads. If I want to set up a favorites, than those chosen should "ONLY" be in favorites. Otherwise why bother going to favorites when I have to go back to "All" if I need something which case I might as well stay there because everythings there. Otherwise I do like it....and I dont use Universal Search nearly as much as I should.

The first thing I did when I got my torch was try to figure out how the different trays were associated to folders. Took me about and hour to figure out that they were not analogous at all.

I like the media tray because it's an organized category and it is analogous to the media folder. If I throw something in the media folder, it shows up on the media tray. This is also what gave me my initially misguided perception.

However, I don't like the frequently used. I would rather keep accessible what I frequently used in a manually configured tray.

I find that I just don't use favorites really, because I keep everything that I would want in favorites at the top on my home screen and then everything else goes into applications. It's just extra work to replicate that.

Downloads is a useless category for me. I didn't even like the downloads folder on OS5. I don't like the downloads folder on Windows or Mac OS. I just don't see a need, I would rather it asked me where to save things.

So what I would do is this:

Give everyone the All tray
Give everyone the downloads, favorites, frequent and media tray.
Give everyone the ability to hide a tray if they don't want to see it.
Allow any folder to be converted into a tray. So I could make the setup folder a tray, I could make the application folder a tray.

Doing this would allow users to customize how they wanted their tray structure to look. They've already done it with media, without having seen the code they wrote, I can't imagine it is that difficult to give the ability to do, however I can understand needing to soft reboot the device when you add or remove a tray in order to restart the UI services to have the change take effect. But that would seem doable for me. It's not like users are creating and removing trays all the time.

So if I could do that I would use the trays more, but right now, I really only use the all menu with subfolders, so I guess I use it like os 5... My wife even said when she first saw my torch "I would live in the all menu"...

I typically flick between "All" and "Favorites", because what I ended up doing was putting my absolutely most-used icons on the top row of "All", and then have my second-most-used set under favorites. I just like swiping from side to side a bit more than going down and selecting the icon that way. I'm also a big fan of Universal Search and the ability to take a quick glance at my calendar by clicking the date at the top.

That being said, I could definitely live without a few of the views ("Frequent" being the one that comes to mind the quickest), so it'd be nice to be able to edit/delete views as needed.

All in all, though, I think it's a great experience. Granted, I'm coming almost directly from 4.5, since I immediately put a version of OS6 on my new 9330, so I don't have a frame of reference for 4.6-5.0.

I don't particularly like the views. I've compressed my folders down to 2 rows of icons with a couple of app icons thrown in. I launch about 98% of my activities with QL so I don't often go into the Home Screen. Sometines when I do, I end up inadvertently running the silly view bar wild and I can't find what I want right away.

I would like to see them fix it so we have some control over the views bar.

Just my $.02

I agree with Kevin. Less is more, I found the navigation bar to be too much. I would wind up on the media or maybe downloads view by accident. I'm not a big theme fan and stick to the precision zen theme. I just prefer the KISS philosophy of keep it simple stupid.

The more I use OS6, the more the navigation bar aggravates the heck outta me! I wish there was a way to turn it off!

And what exactly is the purpose of the favorites view anyway? It's useless to me.

RIM should give us the option to not only turn it off but also if we would like, to make custom ones, and pick and choose what ones we want to choose, for example we could make one for messaging where you could put all ur IM apps and mail etc, one for games and so on, this i think would be a much better option than what they have now, have that along side the option to turn them off completely and just use "all" so it will be like OS5

I agree that you should have the option to turn this off. I waste a ton of time swiping back to the all screen constantly. I liked OS 5 much better. I could put the most important app icons in the corners and getting to them and stopping on them was much more convenient.

I thought i saw something about achieving this with themes and tried getting OS6Loox? I can't make it work though.

I have a 9700 running latest OS6 leak.

I have nothing in my media bar and my downloads bar. Nor can I figure out how to populate them. I have apps in both those folders -- why aren't they showing up under those nav bars??

When you hit options, you only get the option to put something under favorites, not under media or downloads.