Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The iOS Menu

Simon (tweet, Hacker News):

I realised six months ago as I was using my Mac, using the menus, that I need these things — menus — in Codea. I was trying to solve a problem that has been solved for decades.

So I set out to make the best menus I could make for iOS.


Compared to all the options I considered, menus are exactly that, discoverable. You pull down a list of named features complete with shortcut keys (if a keyboard is attached). Then you activate that feature by tapping on it, or by dragging your finger and releasing.

Hamburger menus, side-drawers, whatever you want to call them, are a conventional way to bury additional and often unrelated functionality into an app. But they are much heavier than the good old-fashioned menu bar. They often pull out a whole modal side-thingy, maybe they slide all your content to the right. It’s a context switch for your brain.

iOS really needs something like this. I get that Apple didn’t want to bring over everything from the Mac’s design. But, as with some other features, I feel like they’ve had their chance to show us a better way and haven’t delivered. So they may as well reinvent the wheel.

Previously: Proof That iOS Still Hasn’t Gotten Undo Right, Make the iPad More Like the Mac, Great Alternatives to Hamburger Menus.

Update (2019-01-11): Simon:

In this post I’m going to walk you through all the other details that make this work.

John Gruber:

What they’re doing here with Codea isn’t just putting the Mac menu bar on iOS. They’ve designed and built a very iOS-looking take on a menu bar, deeply informed by the aspects of the Mac menu bar that do work on a touch screen. Something like this is desperately needed as a standard interface element on iPad, and I think could work on iPhone too.

Riccardo Mori:

Speaking of iOS apps with menus, the first instance I remember seeing was TaskPaper on iOS 6. I still use this app, by the way.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Seems like a no-brainer. The menu bar doesn't need to be always-visible like on macOS, but there should be a standard iOS UI component for apps that need it.

So many things are just reinventing OSX. What works on a small screen is of course different. But so much of what they set out to avoid fails and they just end up with OSX features. Why not just bite the bullet and assume OSX's features make sense but have a way to not require them. I think we're pretty well at the point where merging iOS-iPad and macOS makes sense.

Leave a Comment