Hamburger menus perform poorly

Duncan Stephen
Wednesday 18 February 2015

Why we banished the hamburger menu from our iPhone app

The hamburger menu is one of the oldest icons in the history of graphical user interfaces. It was included in the Xerox Star, one of the first ever graphical user interfaces. It has recently seen a renaissance on websites and apps due to the space constraints of mobile devices.

But many website and app owners have reported that the use of the hamburger menu or a navigation drawer has a negative impact on engagement. Often important features go undiscovered in a hidden menu that goes unnoticed by many users, or even confuses them.

In this article, Redbooth have outlined how they went about redesigning their service to get rid of the hamburger menu. Removing a navigation drawer can mean making tough choices in terms of how to prioritise features. Redbooth rationalised their navigation so that it would fit on a mobile screen. The result was an overnight increase in engagement, with daily sessions more than doubling.

This goes to show that it can be worth the effort of rationalising navigation menus. It can involve making some difficult decisions, but by focusing on the core user needs you can fundamentally improve the user experience.

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One reply to "Hamburger menus perform poorly"

  • Suresh
    Monday 23 January 2017, 3.10pm

    There is nothing wrong with hamburger menus, it is completely subject to your target market of your app/website. If your target market is not going to understand what a hamburger menu is for, you have three options in my opinion: Change the button to something more easily understood by everyone (For example a button that says Menu) Have instructions / Gestures to explain what the button does (in the similar way that you would gesture how to swipe a parallax website). Use a different form of navigation. Listing your navigation before your content is just going to cause poor usability and increase bounce/exit rate on your website because the users have to scroll away from the navigation to find the content. Taking the extra time to redesign or make a hamburger bar more user friendly for target markets that do not understand its use is far more effective then just filling your page with navigation and loosing all your conversions. In my opinion if a user needs the navigation bar on your landing page and there isn't separate call to action buttons to direct the users where they need to go or where you want them to go, the design is completely failing already anyway.

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