Hamburger icon/menu or burger icon/menu are terms you need to know going into 2016. The hamburger menu is the little triple-line button (see image at right) which we’ve been seeing in mobile apps and on responsive websites, but we’re starting to see it used even on desktop sites lately.
You need to know it for 2 reasons. First, if you’re looking at your website on a mobile device, you need to know that this is probably where your top navigation is – you expose the menu by clicking this button. Second, understand that it’s becoming the international symbol for “menu” and it’s catching on fast. Clients will sometimes say, “My website visitors won’t know what it is!” Well, that’s true unless they happened to use a Xerox Star circa 1981. The 65+ demographic as well as people who surf less on mobile devices are not as likely to recognize it (), but the younger market knows it just fine. Use of this icon for the menu really started to pick up in 2010, so it’s been around for quite awhile.
If you’re on the fence, you’re not alone. There are a few things that can be done to improve usability. Adding a label (e.g. “menu”) beneath it increases click-through rate by 20%. The label is not often included in purchased themes, so you may need to submit a request for customization if you want your theme to show a label near the hamburger menu icon. The other thing to remember is that your page content should be guiding traffic on your site. You, as a site owner, click around your site using the menu all the time. Your website visitors, other other hand, should be finding the appropriate offers, services, and calls to action easily and quickly right on the home page and subsequent pages.
In conclusion, the burger menu is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Get to know it, and make sure your site content is captivating and leading your users to the areas of the site that are important to your business!