Tuesday, November 10, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple on Hamburger Menus

Manbolo quoting Apple’s Mike Stern (via Samuel Goodwin):

I’m not going to say that there’s no place for these controls categorically. I think there are some apps that could maybe use one. But I will say that their value is greatly over-stated, and they have huge usability downsides too.

[…]

Remember, the three key things about an intuitive navigation system is that they tell you where you are, and they show you where else you can go. Hamburger menus are terrible at both of those things, because the menu is not on the screen. It’s not visible. Only the button to display the menu is.

Previously: The Hamburger Menu Doesn’t Work, Hamburgers and Basements.

4 Comments

I think the people complaining about hamburger menus have fewer and fewer points in their favor.

Yes, hamburger menus hide things. That's what they're for. Phones are still small, but the apps they run have more and more features. Meanwhile, we want to use the screen space to show things that actually matter to what the user is currently doing. The hamburger menu is there for the user to switch to *another* task in a way that doesn't clutter the current screen with UI elements that are unrelated to the user's current task. Hiding things is it's intended use, and it's not bad that it does that. It's what it is supposed to do.

It's also no longer true that people don't know what hamburger menus are for. A few years ago, people didn't know. Now, it's on so many websites and in so many apps that people actually do recognize the icon.

I agree. It's fine to dislike these buttons but unless one can design a better solution the criticisms don't amount to much. More significantly hamburger menus (unless many alternatives) at least are discoverable and easy to understand.

"It's also no longer true that people don't know what hamburger menus are for. A few years ago, people didn't know. Now, it's on so many websites and in so many apps that people actually do recognize the icon."

Do you have the data to back that up? The numbers I've seen (like http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1945) tells another story. I'm not so sure things have change dramatically since April. Instead, big names like Facebook, YouTube and Medium have switched away from hamburger menu since then.

[…] Apple on Hamburger Menus, The Hamburger Menu Doesn’t Work, Ex-Microsoft Designer Explains the Move Away From Metro, […]

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