Ok. This is embarrassing. We've been using the BlackBerry Z10 for almost three weeks and only today did we learn about accessing the Compact Sidebar using the Root Peek gesture.

What is the Compact Sidebar you ask? Well, it's the solution to the complaint many users have voiced that navigating within the BlackBerry Hub feels like it takes too many swipes, especially as you jump between viewing messages in one inbox and wanting to jump into another connected account. As it turns out, BlackBerry solved this problem from the get go by building in the Root Peek gesture which pulls up the Compact Sidebar when you're layers deep into an app.

With the Root Peek gesture, you can invoke the Compact Sidebar by swiping to the right on the left most icon in the Action Bar (the bar at the bottom of the app where your most important shortcuts are). When you swipe to the right on this icon, the Compact Sidebar will slide out, which provides shortcuts back to all of the main menu items. It doesn't matter how many layers deep you are within the Hub or any app with tabs, you can quickly jump to another section. I know it sounds a little confusing, so watch the video above and you'll see what I mean. Then keep reading for more details.

Root Peek
When viewing an email, swiping to the right on the
back button pulled out the Compact Sidebar on the left 

It's kind of shocking that despite 7+ months of BlackBerry 10 previews and teasers and the fact that we've been taking a magnifying glass Z10 for weeks that we only now figured this out. It was actually Marcus , who developed CrackBerry's kick ass BlackBerry 10 app, who stumbled upon it this morning when reading through BlackBerry 10 developer documentation on Peek.

Peeking is the ability for a user to see under a card, by using a gesture. There are two ways in which a user can peek under the card:

Parent peek: The user slides a finger right to reveal the screen that lies immediately under the card.

Root peek: The user slides a finger right on the action bar to reveal the application at the bottom of the stack of cards.

Not all card styles support both peek types. Composer and picker cards support only parent peek, and previewer cards support both types. 

Even when building v1 of the CrackBerry 10 app, not knowing that the Root Peek gesture existed we built in our own shortcut to pull out the main menu using the CrackBerry logo.

That all said, I'm sure there are lots of people out there who did know about the Compact Sidebar, which makes it all the more puzzling why nobody has been too vocal about it. Reading through BlackBery Z10 reviews, one of the common concerns was that at times the Hub feels a little tedious, as you have to do a lot of backswiping out of emails and back to the Hub to then navigate to another part of the Hub. Pulling up the Compact Sidebar with the Root Peek gesture really changes this - it makes it incredibly efficient to jump around within the Hub. Within other apps too, it's such a better experience

I can't state enough how happy this discovery makes me. The BlackBerry Hub and apps in general just became so much faster to use.

Learn it. Love it. Use it. Spread the word. The Compact Sidebar rules!!