Hamburger Menu: Is It Time To Stop Arguing About It?
Some topics will never stop being controversial for web designers. Take, for example, hamburger menus. At one time, they seemed like an ingenious way to solve the problem of limited screen space on mobile devices, but the minute they bled into the desktop environment, people started freaking out. Today we discuss what’s good and bad about hamburger menus — and will they ever go?
Hamburger menu: is it time to go vegan?
The question “are hamburger menus good or bad” is impossible to answer easily because it’s not something objectively positive or negative. For mobile devices, their usefulness is obvious — hamburger menus allow us to create inventive and good-looking sites without sacrificing all screen estate for navigation. But on the desktop, they created confusion, and many older users still don’t understand how to use it.
Hamburger menu is easy to miss
No matter what site you have, you always want your bounce rate to be low and your users to hang around. But many of them can easily miss the hamburger menu (which usually comes in the form of three lines), grow frustrated, and leave. That won’t do, primarily if you target the older or less tech-savvy crowd. At one point, even Google tried to distance itself from the trend. Such a gesture seems pointless now when users have had a decade to learn what the three-line icon means.
They destroy the flow
While it’s not that noticeable on mobile, on desktop, the need to click twice every time you need to access a new page can be gruelling. That alone completely destroys the flow: some people can’t stand it. Generally speaking, you don’t want the navigation to be a chore.
Not a foreign concept anymore
The longer it takes, the fewer people oppose hamburger menus simply because we’ve grown to know what they are. They stopped being a foreign concept long ago and now are easily recognizable as a navigational button — especially on mobile.
Responsive and great for touch screens
Web designers have to think about style and functionality, and hamburger menus have freed them from that dilemma. By hiding the navigational button behind the three lines, they found a way to be more creative about web design. And hamburger menus are perfect for touch screens!
So, should you use hamburger menus? In fact, it mostly depends on your project. If your website needs to be creative and impressive, a hamburger menu is a way to go. But if your project is more serious in nature, full navigation can be better — it’s all about expectation. Knowing your target audience is the key.