Monday, March 16, 2015

Slide view / splitview / side draw and a hamburger are not necessarily the same thing

There has been a lot of discussion about some of the native apps in the Windows 10 technical preview releases using a hidden menu, accessed via a "Hamburger icon". Some people have taken great offence to this and object to it's use in Windows Apps.
Let's get a few things clear though:

  • The hamburger icon is a variation on the icon for a list that represents a menu (a menu is just a list of options anyway)
  • It's typically used on a small screen device, where space is limited, to allow for the person using the software to cause the menu to be displayed. The menu is not typically shown all the time because of the amount of screen real estate it requires.
  • In addition to being useful on small screen devices, it's also useful when the size of the window can be changed and vary greatly.
  • The idea is to hide the menu off screen until it's needed.
  • The downside is that the person using the software doesn't know what's in the menu until they open it. If they don't use it regularly and/or it contains a long list of options then they have to remember what's there. Or, more likely, they have to open it to see what options they have.
  • How the menu is displayed is not related to using the "hamburger" icon to represent it.
  • You do not have to use a side draw or slideview to show a menu.
  • Using a side draw or slideview does not require the use of a hamburger icon. You could use something else. Even text.
  • It's a convention though. Many people already recognise the hamburger icon (even if they don't call it that) and have an expectation about what it will do.

You don't have to use a hamburger icon in your [Windows 10] app.


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