An usability and universal design investigation into hamburger menus
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With the implementation of different interface designs in applications across various devices, the concerns related to usability in these designs have also increased. Navigation is an important functionality in websites and the effectiveness of website is impacted by how the navigation is designed. The increase in use of hidden navigation patterns, particularly ‘hamburger’ menu icon, has raised debates regarding usability of the navigation design and the icon itself. This study seeks to investigate the usability of hamburger menu design pattern in websites, comparing the efficiency and satisfaction level of the design with two other design patterns: hidden navigation design without hamburger icon and tab navigation design. Although few studies are already there which compare the performance of hamburger menu design pattern with other design patterns in mobile applications, not much research has been made to compare the efficiency from the perspective of usability and universal design in websites. This research examines the performance of 45 people across these navigation design patterns through variations in tasks, using hypothetical deductive method. Total time taken, total errors made and opinions of participants regarding the navigation design were collected as a part of experiment. As a quantitative study, the results were analyzed using independent one-way Anova for validity, using SPSS as a tool. The findings indicate that hidden navigation design patterns are less usable, inefficient, and comply less with the principles of universal design as compared to tab navigation design. The inefficiency is more noticeable for complicated tasks. The research also pinpoints that the ‘hamburger’ icon itself is an understandable metaphor and is usable for experienced users. The outcome of the research can be beneficial for future relevant fields of research, as well as for user interface designers and experts.
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