In the past year, I've had the immense pleasure and learning curve of working on Onefootball's Android app. The app is considered to be one of the most (if not the most) successful football apps on Google Play.

My time working on the app came at an interesting period during its development. Already a successful app which averaged users in six figures daily, it became clear from a product perspective some key features weren't performing as well as they could.

What were these key features though? Well, being an app that keeps track of all the scores it possibly can around the world, matches are quite important. Alongside matches, the lack of clarity when selecting a favourite team and following other teams or competitions. Clearly we had to improve the UX here.

Hidden features

At my arrival, the app was leverging a hamburger navigation. Immediately you would land on the apps news experience, however unless a seasoned user or just familiar with Android patterns, you could easily miss the matches. Not only the matches, but as mentioned keeping track of how you follow your favourite teams and competitions. It didn't just feel hidden, the numbers showed these sections were hidden with lower engagement than expected.

It seemed clear from a product point of view at least that the hamburger navigation could be contributing to the low engagement of those sections — actually, it definitely was.

You right shrug lady, where even is the navigation?

Cue the problem solver!

Utilising the excellent research and work done by the product and design team at Onefootball, we decided to go with a bottom navigation bar. It felt obvious in many respects — afterall, Google had began to push the bottom navigation as a component in their Material guidelines.

This also made sense from the perspective that no longer would the user require two or more taps to get to the matches section or a specific match, it would be there, readily available at a tap. It directly benefited the following of entities too, subsequently leading into a revamp of that section.

Above - the new bottom navigation. Below - the old hamburger menu.

Note: If you would like to and are the slightest bit interested in how we got there, you can also reference this article.

A small mistake...

Despite our research and gut feeling, we discovered one little flaw in user testing. We had opted to omit the bottom navigation from every child page in the app. In retrospect, we realised we had to change something before we submitted the new version of the app. Discovering that our external testers were stack in a never ending back stack of teams and competitions, we had to do something.

Essentially at this point our solution became to re-introduce the navigation bar on team and competition views. It made the most sense and ensured the user could get back to top level as they pleased - or - use the up button. This also meant child pages like individual matches didn't need it because if you were to navigate away to a team for example, you can get back with both the back button and bottom navigation (to top level at least).

Did it work?

Short answer — yes! Initially we saw some poor reviews come in via Google Play. Whenever you make a change of this magnitude to an apps user experience, you should probably expect some level of throwback from loyal users. Fortunately however, this was few and far between as we had initially launched to 5% then 20% of users with feedback gradually improving day by day. The app is still rated 4.7 as we speak ✌️

Of course in my time at Onefootball, we worked on many features for the Android app - small and big. The bottom navigation was a particularly tough one and as it is a huge UX change I feel one of my favourite case studies from my time at Onefootball.

Design & User Experience
All work belongs to Onefootball GmbH