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With the wonderful advancements in technology and ever-growing digital market, it has become imperative to create an online space for your business. Designing your own website can be frustrating – especially if you’re not quite tech savvy. Hiring a professional web design company, like Connectica LLC, will not just save you from long, tedious nights in front of the computer but can result in you having a beautiful, well-functioning website that is customer-friendly and easily attracts online traffic.
Having a professional also helps when faced with difficult web design questions; the most recent fad being the use of the hamburger menu. Here’s a bit more about what it actually is and some of the controversy surrounding it.
What is a Hamburger Icon?
The hamburger icon refers to the 3 parallel, evenly spaced lines that indicate a drop-down menu (like this ≡). You’ve probably come across this icon on many occasions; especially in the age of touch-screen smartphones. It’s called the hamburger menu because it looks like a slab of meat between two buns.
It was originally designed in 1981 to look like 3 items in a list – fitting as its purpose was an indication of a collapsible menu; as opposed to the permanent clutter associated with horizontal menus.
The controversy surrounding the icon isn’t one that considers malware or abuse of the collapsible function, but largely the effectivity of the icon itself.
- Powerful Purpose
The hamburger menu achieves its purpose – it takes away the awkward clutter associated with multiple menu options and leaves you with a website that is easy to navigate on small touch screen devices, and that allows you to enhance your brand awareness. The menu itself can contain the word cues looked for in toolbars previously so that it still provides the necessary navigational clues whilst adding to the minimalist trend of home pages or available page real estate for product and service advertising.
- Famous Focus
The incredibly widespread use of the hamburger menu means that its purpose is well-known! Customers have most definitely come across the concept before and are more than likely to understand what it is and how it works. With a good creative team, your web design can help it draw focus so that the icon can be easily spotted and simultaneously adding to the aesthetics of your web design. Click here to see some great examples.Studies have shown that the hamburger icon is one of the top 5 most used buttons on mobile apps with an engagement percentage of 20%. This result is often misquoted as a negative; this figure is misinterpreted as the total percentage of customers who use the button. But if the only button users were to push was the hamburger menu, they wouldn’t be exploring your website or purchasing your products. Its popularity is unmistakable as it sits on the statistical field of the ‘product select’ button.
- Function over Fabulous
There is an argument that suggests that when users visit a website, they rely on cues and interesting things to draw their attention and nudge them in the direction of what they might want to find. When you have a hamburger menu, these cues are supposedly no longer readily available. The three-bar icon is portrayed as non-specific nor suggestive of significant information; the argument claims that it will, therefore, be overlooked – leaving customers dissatisfied with your web design. They claim that although horizontal menu styles aren’t creative or pretty, they are the best form of menu option because they provide the cues and information necessary for customers to recognize and respond efficiently. Words mean that people don’t need to understand an icon before they can adequately navigate your website.
- Quick Access versus True Accessibility
Another common argument is that tab bars or multiple adjacent icons/options should be the primary style of navigation. In the article, “Obvious Always Wins”, they suggest that hamburgers leave options out of reach and difficult to find while tab bars provide better and quicker engagement and satisfaction of the user as well as a perception of faster web metrics. However, many sites who employ this method still use the hamburger menu to offer more, albeit often less commonly used, options.
Some research has shown that there has yet to be an alternative solution as holistic and acceptable as the hamburger icon. Others claim that it’s vague nature doom it to inefficiency. As with most inventions, the hamburger menu has its pros and cons; a good concept when used correctly and in the right context. If you live in South Florida, trust Connectica Inc as your web designer company to create a page that is both beautiful and functional.