Thoughts / It’s not the hamburger, it’s the menu (part 2) / January 16, 2016

A mode of response to In defence of the hamburger menu

The problem with (the discussions about) the hamburger menu is that most people start talking about the menu but end up talking about the icon. They start talking about the pattern to later dwell on justifying their use since they themselves find it useful.

It is not about the icon, It is about the pattern of hiding important (and sometimes very unimportant) stuff under a generic icon. It is about all the apps that started using it and then relegated it, bringing out many of their best functionality so that people could discover them. It is about discoverability, one of the founding principles of good interaction design. It is about how complicated it is to find stuff that does not belong to the same categorization in our mental models on a single list.

In sum, it is about how easy it is to put there all and hide it all in order to get a prettier page, in lieu of a better page. It’s about how easy it becomes an anti pattern, how easy it is to hide it all under the magical, invisible menu.

I could add some links to research and articles here, but then it might look like spam, so I’ll add this one, as it has plenty of examples: The Hamburger Menu Doesn’t Work

Finally, it is not about opinion. We all have opinions. It is about cases and examples and studies and research and solutions where it works or not. Where designers make it work or not. Those should be the arguments. Those should be the examples.

And the icon itself? Who cares. We still use a dumb floppy for saving documents.

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You might also want to read: It’s not the hamburger, it’s the menu (part 1)