Discord tests a new bottom tab design and swipe gesture controls

Discord tests a new bottom tab design and swipe gesture controls

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While we’re all trapped at home having a nice cold pint and waiting for this all to blow over, we’ve increased our use of messaging apps to keep up with our friends and families. There are hundreds of messaging apps out there, and many of them are more popular in certain regions or with certain demographics. Discord is now one of the more popular chat apps after it grew beyond its roots as a messaging service for just gamers. The developers of the app are highly engaged with the community and often run A/B tests to see how people would react to new UI and behavior changes. One of the changes that are being experimented on with a handful of users is a redesign of the Android app that places many buttons in a bottom bar. An additional experiment allows users to swipe left or right in chats to open the participant list and/or server/channel list.

Here’s a screen recording showing off the new bottom tab design and swipe gesture controls:

Personally, I’m a big fan of these changes, as they allow for much better one-handed use. The Discord team has moved most of the buttons you’re likely to press a bit further down on the screen. The action bar in the chat screen is now redundant, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it disappears in future iterations of this experiment.

These experiments were first brought to our attention by XDA Senior Member Some_Random_Username. We confirmed these changes were being tested on our own devices running the latest Discord for Android alpha release. Users can manually enable this experiment by modifying the com.discord_preferences.xml Shared Preferences file in /data/data/com.discord/shared_pref and adding the line <int name="CACHE_KEY_TABS_EXPERIMENT_BUCKET" value="N" /> where N is either 0, 1, or 2. Putting 0 as the value opts the user out of the experiment while putting 1 only shows the bottom tab redesign and putting 2 shows the bottom tabs as well as enables swipe gestures.

What do you think of these changes? By the way, we have a Discord server!