The Pros & Cons of the Hamburger Menu

The controversial Hamburger menu has been the subject of much debate within the design community with contention surrounding its effectiveness and implementation. The three-lined icon offers the means of removing a navigational menu off of the main content and hides it behind a contextual button prompt.


  • Separates and relegates navigational buttons into their own section, away from the core content, in turn reducing the risk of overwhelming the user.
  • Allows users quick access to specific functions normally hidden behind several stages of navigational flow.
  • Quickly accessible, and ever present.


  • Reported to reduce user engagement with the application as a side effect of the menu being hidden behind a contextual prompt.
  • Usefulness is dependent on the assumption that user is familiar with the concept.
  • Contents of menu remain ambiguous until accessed.
  • Aimed at experienced users, reducing audience reachability.
National Cancer Institute. (1990). NCI visuals food hamburger [Photograph]. Retrieved from