Stop being a skeptic and embrace the hamburger

Look at that hamburger, so lean, so juicy, so inviting. Go on … you want to don’t you, I can tell you are just itching, to reach out, don’t deny yourself, go on reach out and tap that hamburger menu icon.

The title of this post is as much for me as anyone. I too doubted the credentials of the hamburger menu. I strongly felt the menu was just a dumping ground for links the organisation wanted to add but the digital team had no logical place in the IA. While this is still true, it’s undeniable that the hamburger menu (done well) is an irreplaceable feature of our mobile experience

So how do we ‘do it right’? For a start through out those organisational-biased links and think of the menu like a gear stick on a manual car.

A gear stick is an enabler, let the hamburger menu enable your users experience. Thanks to Facebook among others, users are comfortable with the menu being used as a navigational aid. If we keep this in mind, then the next logical evolution for the hamburger menu is to use it interchangeably with the canvas in front of us. Take Medium as an example, while I can add comments in-canvas, this is missing from the mobile experience, the flyout menu is the natural place to store this interaction. As a human interaction the flyout menu is the ink pot to our quill. The menu allows our focus to remain on-canvas while providing an easy drawer to call on when required.

Other examples of often complex interactions that could fit perfectly into the flyout menu are filters and text footnotes. Off canvas flyout patterns allow us to marry complex desktop-based patterns with our mobile experience.

So while Facebook led us off canvas with it’s flyout menus it is now time for more of us to embrace and discover more ways to innovate the design pattern.

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