Brent Jackson (last year):
For the iPhone, Apple conjured up three fairly solid navigation patterns: the tab bar, the table view (e.g. Messages & Mail), and the card stack (e.g. Weather). All three work fairly well if used as intended, but there’s always room for experimentation and evolution in UI design – and always room for designers and developers to screw it up.
Path and Facebook’s mobile left nav flyout pattern is one such experimentation that should be avoided. Mark Kawano calls it the “hamburger icon that slides open the basement.” Why call it the basement? Because it’s hidden, dark, there’s a ton of crap in it, and, frankly, it’s scary and no one wants to go down there.
The Facebook app has since switched to a tab bar.
It turns out that the burger comes from the Xerox “Star” personal workstation, one of the earliest graphical user interfaces. Its designer, Norm Cox, was responsible for the entire system’s interface—including the icons that would effectively communicate functionality to the earliest computer users. The hamburger, which looks like a list, seemed like a good way to remind users of a menu list. Skip to about 21:05 in the following video to see an explanation[…]
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