A look at the thumb zone using android apps designed with material design

After Apples announcement and introduction of their big iphone it has been a discussion again about phones with bigger screens. What is the result of using the thumb zone maps with apps created using material design.

This post are heavily inspired by this content from Scott Hurf.

With the smaller screen phone dying off we need to design more with the bigger phone screen size in mind.

Apple have their reachability function to combat some of the problem which arises with the bigger screen.

According to this study most people like to use their phone with one hand. They only recorded observation in the wild so this figure can not be extrapolated to a n% value of all people. But it can be used as an indication and the most recent study that I could find.

  • one handed: 49%
  • cradled: 36%
  • two handed: 15%

With Scott Hurf thumb zone for the iPhone 6 Plus I thought it would be a fun idea to add apps with material design.


The thumb zone shows a guess where on the screen its easier to tap with your thumb.

This is an example image of created by Scott Hurf showing the reachability function with the new iPhones.

6 plus reach

You need to remember that the thumb zone screen used to display the material apps are the iPhone 6 Plus. That means you have to imagine the iPhone 6 Plus screen running Material Design apps.

Make of it as you whish.



Google Music


Google plus

Referenece Image

The small conclusions of this experiment that I have are that the action buttons are conveniently placed for your thumb when you use the phone with one hand. And that the content you interact with are placed on the lower half of the screen. The content that are used at the upper half of the screen might be used for the hero image.

Hero images are images that are usually anchored in a prominent position, above the fold, such as a banner at the top of the screen. They serve to draw in a user, provide context about the content, or reinforce brand.

Source: Google Design

After viewing these screens the hero images pushes down the action button to a more comfortable position for the thumb to reach it.

You can compare the back button between iOS and Android. The back button are a little bit easier to tap with Android phones when the phone have a larger screen (even though the there are a significant difference between Up vs. Back button in Android). This maybe creates a more of a need to have functionality as the reachability in iOS.

This was more of a fun test for me to look at some of the apps designed with Material Design (at least in mind) and the development with larger phone screen sizes to better understand it. The conclusions might be “bananas”.

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