Hamburger Menus….When and When Not To Use Them

Post Author: Alex J. Martinez

These little guys are really cool. Some genius out there dreamt up that these three little lines will seep into the digital knowledge of the spectrum of earth and by looking at them, communicate the word “menu”.

There are, however, some drawbacks to using these little hamburger menu icons on all screens, all the time. Let’s go over what they are, what they can do, and when you should use hamburger menus.

Embrace Modern Design

Hamburger menus have only been around for a couple of years, and only recently have really caught on for every kind of website. They were solely used for mobile web design as an obvious attempt to limit the amount of space that is taken up on the screen. They (the collective “They”) used the icon to signal for the menu to open up, overlay or push the screen. Websites now are being designed with hamburger icons on their desktop versions, mostly for the same reason they were being used on mobile platforms…to stay away from a cluttered design, keeping the website clean and tidy.

The three lined icon looks sleek, is clean and will definitely tell your audience that you are up to current design standards. So this is a great way to communicate with your audience about your marketing…you take it seriously and realize that your website is your number one marketing tool in all advertising platforms.

Know Your Target Audience

Your target audience is obviously who you have in mind when you are creating your marketing, product design and your overall holistic marketing orientation. So when it comes to making a decision about using a regular navigation menu or a hamburger menu, you should think about your target audience as well.

Age is the major factor in this type of website aesthetic. If your target audience is 50+, then I would recommend using the traditional approach to website design and have an “old fashioned” menu. Chances are, some of your potential clients might even get frustrated because they don’t know how to navigate your website with a hamburger menu.

Angry Computer Nerd

Now, this still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use these when targeting an older demographic. You could just throw a small “MENU” designation next to it.

With the younger demographics, I would say go for it! They are hip to know what these icons mean and won’t mind if you are using them. As matter of fact, they will probably admire your website design!