That said, this is kind of not-good-at-all. An individual page shouldn't be able to control UI like this, IMO. A lot of the changes Apple made to Safari in iOS7 were bad ones, and they seem to have invented a new meta tag to get around admitting that they mis-stepped.
Certainly it shouldn't be abused for general websites, but for sites that represent something that's more 'app like' say a game, it's a fair way of indicating to the browser we'd like the UI removed more than not.
Here are a few comments below that I strongly agree with why this is a BAD change by Apple. This change kills the browser UX.
> "This reminds me of the era of chromeless popup windows. I do not like this move by Apple. A site should not be capable of deciding to make changes to a users browser UI. Especially changes that aren't explained. I'm actually disappointed this exists."
> "Think about usability: the user will not have the back, the share and the tabs buttons available by default. If you are creating an inmersive game or a webapp with the main navigation controls then minimal-ui is a good idea; for content- and document-based websites, it might not be nice for the user."
before this change, playing our game was a real pain on iPhone this was a much needed improvement.
There is no way this "feature" is not going to somehow be abused to annoy users.
As a designer, I can't help but read that and crack up. You have got to be joking, right?
That's the amazing thing about HTML + CSS + JS, not available to PDF or any other format/medium in common use.
But this is Apple after all, one of the biggest adherents to the "fashionable minimalism" trend, so it's not that surprising.
Making good UIs on a small screen is difficult, but I don't think the "hide everything and make it non-obvious and hard to discover" school of thought is the right way to go. I'll gladly sacrifice a small amount of screen space to put some useful controls there (or a reminder that there are more controls), instead of trying to maximise the area the content takes --- which is very similar to a television where you can't change the channel easily, and are just being force-fed content to consume.
Aside from that: finally.
"This won't end well..."
This is just another example. It's great in theory, but this should not be something that is left up to the content creators to decide.
It provides an inconsistent user experience for the person USING the browser. Imagine if you were using Chrome or Safari on desktop and you had to guess if the url bar and back button would be there every time you clicked a link to go to a new page. I suppose it is fine if you want people to feel like they are trapped on your page.
So you want to fill the user's limited screen real estate with your own useless crap (usually "download our app and subscribe to our emails!"), and you're worried that the actual functional bits of the browser are getting in the way of your doing that?
There are plenty of uses for fixed navigation that aren't spammy attempts to force app downloads. Users like them. Not all users, but most.
I can't believe they didn't tested orientation change with minimal-ui.
Also, in landscape mode, you loose top ~30px area. If you tap there, it will show safari chrome, and your app won't receive tap.
This is great for me as a developer for an internal-use website that primarily targets tablets.
I think this sums it up quite nicely
Now, give us a way to stop the swipe-to-go-back gesture. Or get rid of it all together, like they did on Android.
True but this cannot be done programmatically, only with the meta value when the document loads, so you better have that sort of content in its own document.