What Is A Hamburger Menu?
The burger menu in web design, or the hamburger icon, is an inconspicuous button often found on websites and apps, leading users to a side menu or navigation drawer. Its conception dates back to 1981 when interaction designer Norm Cox devised it for the Xerox Star personal workstation. The purpose was simple – a visual cue that indicated a list of items could be found behind the button.
Many still wonder if we should part ways with this three-lined emblem, or embrace it wholeheartedly. These are just a few of the pros and cons, so you can decide for yourself.
The Pros & Cons of A Hamburger Menu
Universally Recognisable: The hamburger menu is found across various digital domains, from apps to websites, and even computer software and video games. Its presence in collective consciousness is strong as it signifies access to navigation options.
Aesthetic Simplicity: The hamburger menu can help to save you from a cluttered website. This unobtrusive icon is a precious asset, particularly in the confined spaces of mobile apps and websites.
Compact: The burger menu hides navigational buttons that are sometimes unrelated to the core purpose of a webpage. These functions, while important, shouldn’t take up prime real estate.
Decreased Page Importance: Critics argue that the burger menu relegates menu contents to a lower echelon of significance. The act of relocating navigational elements implies their secondary status, discouraging user interaction.
A Drop In Engagement: The burger menu tends to witness notably fewer clicks and less engagement compared to its alternatives. A prime contributor to this phenomenon is its location – usually nestled in the top-left or top-right corner, a difficult spot to access on larger smartphones.
Lacks efficiency: Minimising user steps toward their goals is key to efficient design. Here, the burger menu falters, demanding an extra click to unveil its contents. Imagine visiting a fitness coach’s website to sign up – a direct presentation is undoubtedly preferable.
Skip or Savour?
The burger menu stands as a testament to the evolution of web design. Its humble origins as a communicator of lists have transformed into a debate on functionality and aesthetics.
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