Death of a Hamburger:

Speculations on the future of the mobile app menu.

An expanded hamburger.
Mobile vs Desktop vs Tablet usage.

History:

Norm Cox
Voice Recordings iPhone 3Gs

Pros and Cons:

There are enough “hamburger pro/con” lists on the internet to fit into its own hamburger menu, so I’ll be brief.

Pros:

  1. They’re ubiquitous and recognizable. Everyone and their cat knows what they are.
  2. They’re clean and clutter-free. Nobody needs option overload anxiety.

Cons:

  1. Click rates are low. People assume the information is less important and are less likely to explore the options unless necessary.
  2. Real-estate. Navigation bars are small, but they still cover up a percentage of the screen that could be used otherwise. This goes especially for smaller phones.

The Slide-Tab:

The Triangle:

Thumbs vs Phones

The Pinch:

The Shake:

So what’s next?

As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I don’t see any of these styles overtaking the popularity of the burger anytime soon, but who knows if they may be the link to something greater? Hamburger menus work just fine in the majority of applications and it’s really up to the test results to know if its the best fit for your app. That being said, designers don’t win awards by following the rules. They make new ones.

Vancouver based Interaction Designer.

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