Hamburger menu

The hamburger menu icons debate – L’Atlantique

Insiders call it “the hamburger”: three stacked rows, usually in the upper left or right corner of a website, that people can click to see a menu of pages on the site. Once considered an industry standard, the icon has garnered a lot of attention lately, and not all that positive. Here has AtlanticIt seems like someone is emailing an article about the pros and cons of using burgers almost every day.

Recent favorites include Luis Abreu’s full explanation of why you should avoid hamburgers, Ricardo Bilton’s point of view on editors hiding site navigation, and Josh Constine’s call to kill the burger.

Our team has a delicate relationship with the burger. While Atlantic has a dedicated mobile site, we are in transition with our office site. We’re gradually redesigning pages and sections to be responsive, including features and video. These pages include a hamburger icon for navigation, although we’ve added the word “menu” to encourage clicks. In general, our team is pro-hamburger for the sections of the site that have to do with things like social media, search, and subscriptions.

Then again, the hamburger is not a magic button that gets people to click through anything featured on our site.

Atlantic Web developer Carl Johnson says the burger debate is really a bigger goal discussion. “The burger can lead design teams astray by allowing them to avoid making tough choices about priorities,” he said. “What’s more important: show channel navigation or meta pages?” Well let’s put them all on the burger menu because they all have priority! “

Other sites have chosen to highlight their priorities within the ever-precious space of the navigation bar that appears at the top of most mobile applications. “Time has a “Subscribe” button, “pointed out Atlantic Web developer Jason goldstein. “NPR puts a “new updates” dropdown in their navigation bar, which is a really nice touch. If you are using an email app, the primary action is to send an email. If you are a news site, the main action is to find something new to read. “

Frankly, when it comes to your own website, alone you pay attention to what is hidden in your menu. Whether your burger is dressed in categories, sections, labels, or pickles, readers are likely to find stories other than through the navigation bar.

“I agree that hiding the menu makes the content less discoverable,” said Atlantic technical Manager Josh West. “For a website like ours, I think linking to related articles or the most popular articles is more effective at increasing depth than anything we do with menus.”

So, is the hamburger icon really the problem, or is it indicative of a larger problem with traditional navigation? It is possible that we are projecting all of our traffic problems onto one small graph.

“Most of the negative arguments against the burger have focused on its lack of use and / or lack of understanding by users during testing,” said Kim lau, the vice president of Atlantic Digital. “I would say that the use of navigation is always low enough, and that generally when you place items on a second screen you are implicitly indicating that the information behind it is secondary to the primary purpose of the page. By this nature, menu usage is, or should be, low. “

As sites shift more to mobile, the ideas behind traditional desktop browsing will inevitably have to change. Betsy Ebersole, AtlanticThe senior product manager at, argued for a little soul-searching during this process. “The hamburger review is more of a critique of an overly complicated information architecture. Sites need to carefully examine their AI, especially as viewers move to smaller screens.”

One solution might be to meet people where they already are: by reading articles. This might involve rethinking the placement of the most popular links and boxes, for example. But in general, designers need to be more creative in directing readers to interesting articles without interrupting the flow of what they’re already reading. It gets even more difficult as screens shrink and more people read on their phones.

But that doesn’t mean the burger is dead or should be. If nothing else, we could follow Josh’s advice to improve the icon: “Cheeseburger menu. Because everything is better with cheese.”