fast food vector illustration with burger

Hamburger Menus Explained

When you open an app on your phone or tablet or even look at some websites you could be looking at a hamburger? That is a hamburger menu icon. It is a simple three line menu that resembles the two bun sides of a bun and patty in the middle.

The hamburger menu is made up of three solid lines. The three solid lines are located wither on the far left or far right of the screen. It is an icon. When you touch, tap or click on the icon it opens up a side menu that has a selection of options or additional pages.

A lot of developers like the 3 line hamburger menu. They like it because it allows you to add more features into their app or navigation. It is a tiny icon that takes up minimal space on the screen. It gives the app or webpage a clean minimalist appearance.

Some web developers hate the hamburger menu. Some are just puzzled by it. Some people don’t think that it is obvious that the three lines represent a menu. They don’t like it because it doesn’t tell users what is in there.

The hamburger menu was invented by Norman Cox more than three decades ago. It was invented for Xerox Star, which was the world’s first graphical user interface. Initially the icon did a disappearing act. When mobile devices started to become technologically advanced the use of the hamburger menu started to increase.

The hamburger menu was used in 2008 for the Twitter app called Tweetie. It appeared in 2009 on the Voice Memos app for the iPhone 3GS. Slowly more and more apps started using the hamburger menu. Some of the most prominent names in technology used the hamburger menu including, Gmail, Facebook, Reeder, Twitter and Starbucks.

Many websites have also used the three line hamburger menu. The top right corner of Chrome and Firefox browsers both use the hamburger menu. The hamburger menu conceals all of the options, settings and extensions available to users.

Time.com is another website that uses the hamburger menu. They use it in the upper left hand corner. When you click on the three line menu a slide out with additional content links appears. They did have to add the word menu underneath the three lines so people would know its function.