Three line menu

Thursday, December 27th 2012

I try to keep an eye out for standards in mobile UI. With limited screen space available for the interface, I spend a ton of time thinking about how best to represent actions to our users. Are there standards of how users have come to expect mobile interfaces to behave? Lately I’ve seen this one popping up in a number of places:

lines

The box of three horizontal lines is everywhere. Not too long ago Chrome ditched their wrench icon in favor of the lines:

chrome

It’s also in the Facebook app (twice):

facebook

And Feedly:

feedly

And on Youtube’s desktop site:

youtube

and even on my Kindle:

kindle

The standard for this icon seems to be that it opens a menu or navigation of some kind. Google Music’s Android app is a notable exception, where the icon opens the current playlist instead. But in the majority of cases, when users see three horizontal lines it leads to a menu.

Smashing Magazine spotted it before I did, and has a great analysis of how this icon can be used.   Personally I think using it is a win/win.  It makes it easier for me to design a page, and as an emerging standard helps users know what behavior to expect.

27. December 2012 by Chad Haefele
Categories: General, Mobile, Tech | Leave a comment

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