Due to significant development and popularity of mobile phones, the number of mobile users is increasing at a significant rate. When users are on their mobile phones, screen space is extremely important. Website designers were able to bypass the restrictions of relatively small screen space by using hamburger menu. For many years, web designers have been implementing hamburger menus because of how much screen space it used.
However, hamburger menu has a lot of disadvantages, which can affect engagement, decrease the speed of exploration and confuse users. According to a study by NNGroup, hamburger menus or hidden navigation make content less discoverable. On top of that, it has a negative impact on user experience. The study showed that only 27% of the users used hidden menus on desktops. On mobile phones, only 57% of the users used hidden navigation. The study also shows that when web designers use visible and hidden menus, the engagement increased by 1.5 times, as 86% of the users used it.
While there aren’t any hard and fast rules for website design, if you use a combination of visible and hidden navigation, it will be more effective than only hamburger menus. Here are five design alternatives for hamburger menu for your web design:
If your website doesn’t have a large number of high-level destinations, then you can use a tab bar in your web design to make navigation easier for your users. You can make the tab bar visible at the top or bottom of the web page. It is a way of advertising to the users that there is navigation. At the same time, the tab bar will be visible to the users, the moment they enter your web page. While it is relatively simple, you should keep these things in mind when using tab bars for your web design:
- You can display only five navigation options at once
- You should use a contrasting color so that users know their location
- The home page of your website should be the first tab
- It is always better to use labels with contents. If you want to use only labels, make sure they are common ones such as a small house for home and a magnifying glass for search to name a few.
Tab Bar With More
If your website has more than five high-level destinations, then you can improve the functionality of the tab bar by adding a “more” option in the web design. As tab bars only allow five options at once, you can display four sections and the fifth one could be “more.” You can do a lot of things with this option. For example, it can act as a drop-down menu or even redirect users to a separate page where the rest of the menu options are visible. Although its functionality is just like the hamburger menu, at least four options will be visible at all times.
Progressively Collapsing Navigation
Otherwise known as “priority +” pattern, progressively collapsing navigation is a type of menu that adapts according to the screen width of the user. When you use this in your website design, you will be able to show more options to the users as they expand the browser. All the options that are not visible will be placed under the “more” menu. Unlike tab bar with more, the progressively collapsing navigation is more flexible and offers good user experience.
Just like tab with more and progressively collapsing navigation, you can use scrollable navigation in your web design when you have a large number of options to display. If these options don’t have different priorities such as music genres, then you can make a list with scrollable navigation. When the users have access to scrollable navigation, they have the flexibility to move from one web page to another.
However, one of the downsides of scrollable navigation is that only a handful of options will be visible to the users, just like the hamburger menu. On the plus side, when the users move to a different part of your web page, more options will be visible to them.
All the other options that you just read about focuses on saving screen estate while maximizing functionality in your web design. However, full-screen navigation takes an opposite and different approach. In full-screen navigation, the home page will be used to navigate users through your website. As users scroll through the home page, they can select any option to see what your website has to offer. If your website is a direction-based and task-based, then you will find this alternative useful.
These are the design alternatives for the hamburger menu. If you are finding it hard to find the right alternative for your web design, why don’t you contact Mouth Media? Our professional web designers know how to design websites that offer the best possible user experience!