UX Challenge: Re-thinking the Hamburger Icon

Well, that’s the topic of the article that prompted this thread. There will always be people coming along to the web who don’t know what those three lines represent. they don’t have any inherent meaning, so the question remains—is there some icon that would be more obvious, intuitive or meaningful?

Yes true, but I don’t think it actually needs the overhaul or change. With the wide spread adoption of the icon I think people will gather the understanding that it is a menu. Think of other things such as the floppy disk save icon, people didn’t know at first that it meant save until they actually interacted with it and it become standard. I could argue the same point with that icon, people will always come along and not know what it means.

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It’s fine if you want to use it and think it’s done and dusted. But recognise, and take into account, that it will continue to confuse some people for a long time, as research seems to be showing (the article links to this: http://www.sitepoint.com/evolution-hamburger-icon-pattern/).

Ah, the FOSDEM logo has the pigs nose


Yes it does lol

I would say that it is as difficult to understand than the current icon though :slight_smile:

The dots look like eyes to me.

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I’m a fan of the word menu or the carats down or to the side - with neither being a particularly good alternative, just my favorites. However, the danger with swapping symbols now is that you’re trading the hamburger - confusing, perhaps, but understood by a reasonably large chunk of the Internet - for a new one that may take a restart of the “learning curve” to adopt.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a long term symbolic solution, we should start an Internet wide push for [insert-best-solution-here], I guess, to ensure rapid wide-spread adoption :smiley:

I suspect the only way a new symbol gets momentum is it happens to be more instantly interpretable than the current one.

I think it’s a bit like the way genetic mutation works. Nothing ever happens overnight. Any new icon that is no more successful than the incumbent – perhaps the three dots – just gets lost in the gene pool.

But an icon that does a better job at capturing meaning gradually gets reproduced more often. It’s then almost just a waiting game till it becomes ubiquitous.

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I see an african tribal sun god. But that’s just me.

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I like the hamburger icon. I’m used to it from Thunderbird. But I’ll go with whatever.

AFAIK the “hamburger” is the Font Awesome fa-navicon
Not that other icons couldn’t be used, but it might be easier if the replacement was from those.
eg. fa-toggle-down or fa-arrow-circle-o-down

Nope, it’s fa-bars

I have to say that other websites (like www.meetup.com) use three dots (ellipsis) at the end of the main menu to indicate that there are more itmes (like does discourse at the bottom of each post, beside the orange reply button, only that they do it on the main menu)

I guess three dots at the end of a text (or after various menu items) make sense but I guess that if you place them on the left, before any text, it doesn’t make sense.

…except I think that’s a moderator-only thing. As far as I know, members see

and only moderators see

The three dots might work, but they’re mystery meat the way Meetup does them:

neither mousing over nor focusing with keyboard gives any textual indication wtf should happen if I were to click it.

I think at the very least, hamburgers (most if not all icons, really) need to have a text equivalent at all times.
The developer may choose to visually hide that text equivalent until the user seems to want to do something with it (like mousing over it or keyboard-focussing… I realise that still leaves touch users out), but at that point some text should become visible. I don’t see this interfering with small screens per se.


Techcrunch points out that Facebook used to have the hamburger icon only, but with iOS7 moved to a tab bar with a hamburger icon accompanied by ‘More’ for extra items. A good compromise?

The accompanying more works, I checked my bank app today and it has the same deal.

For thousands of years, scribes etc. have used abbreviations/pictograms and so on to save space. I’m more into abbreviations like & (which developed as a quick way to write et—the Latin word for and) than pictures. We still do abbreviations in writing today, like etc. for et cetera, w. for with and so on.

For menus, we might be better off using/developing some kind of abbreviation. What about M. for a Menu button? Or & for a More button? Or perhaps M⋁ or M↓ for Menu and M> for More?

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Hmmmm…when we were building the pyramids I don’t remember us using abbreviations. That would of shortened our workers workload and that was not allowed.

I was known as “Pharaoh Buddy of Lower Egypt” back then.


I take it you’re about that, or just the at me … but if that’s the case, then you can go and yourself.

In future, I’ll keep my on you.

Didn’t they just call you PeBLE for short?


ROFL! That is awesome ROFL