In an effort to create a simpler, and more appealing user experience for its Android platform, Google advises developers to build the menu button moving forward. On Android 2.3 and older devices, a separate hardware navigation button is used to activate additional functions and hidden features inside an app. While it may seem like an intuitive move, novice users to the platform may not think to look there to find features that they are trying to activate.
Newer Android 3.x and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich devices build with the hardware button in favor of on-screen soft keys. On Ice Cream Sandwich, the menu button has been replaced entirely with an action overflow on-screen key, which is designated by 3 vertical dots. According to Google ‘these buttons do not ‘provide for an idea user experience.’
On Google’s Android Developers blog, the Android OS maker advises software developers to create apps with a friendlier action bar, which lays out commands and useful features for all to see. The move would eliminate placing the burden on the end-user to try to understand where the commands are and the user can quickly and visually scan the app when it launches to know what actions are available to them.