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Spotify's new design makes search feel like a giant reach

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Please move the thing down

So today Spotify launched a slightly redesigned version of its iOS app that (thankfully) ditches the overused "hamburger menu" that's become a lazy crutch. The new layout is way more sensible! And as my colleague Jake says, it's definitely easier to navigate. But there's one glaring problem. Putting the app's most popular sections at the bottom has resulted in the search bar at least feeling like it's been pushed up to an outlandishly high position on the screen. I stand 6'1" and have huge hands, and my thumb could never dream of comfortably hitting that spot.

Anyway, who could possibly reach this thing? The moment I opened the app, the difference felt immediate. Maybe nothing moved, but my brain perceived that it had. Navigation is easier, yes. That's perfectly easy to do with one hand. But search? These changes just reinforce that it's an exercise in hand gymnastics.

I think back to the above iPhone 5 commercial when I see design choices like this. Maybe your entire app doesn't need to take into account the natural reach of a user's thumb. But search? Uh, yeah. This is a recipe for some serious hand cramps — or a dropped and shattered. You might wonder if Apple is doing any better with Apple Music, and the answer is a resounding no.

Apple Music search

Again! Way up there at the top — almost at the status bar — and to the right. At least there's Reachability, I suppose, or Siri? But won't anyone start thinking about search? Or comfort? We're moving too far away from that in the name of what, exactly? To be clear, this is a standard location for search (and address) bars in iOS, and it's more of an an obvious issue on the phablet Plus-sized phone. But I don't see why you wouldn't just flip it to the bottom for everyone, or someplace else on the screen. The move to larger phones is plainly apparently, so why do core functions still seem so far away? The navigation part of Spotify is now optimized for screens of any size. Maybe we'll get there with the other parts soon.