Friday, November 14, 2014

Unbundle the Hamburger Button

Today's comic pokes fun at a few mobile application trends with which you are most likely familiar. The first is what they call un-bundling. You know, you have an app that does everything - it shares photos, lets you chat with friends, finds you a ride to work, orders dinner, and tells you what people think of your new haircut. Then they go and break it up into a bunch of separate apps so you can't do everything in one place anymore. Good idea, or mobile nightmare?

The reason I use Messenger
We've seen so many examples of unbundling this year:


There are other examples, one of which was sure to impact you. I'm sure the change was traumatic. Personally, I went at least 3 days without reading a single Facebook message because I didn't take the time to install Messenger. I sure did miss that Pusheen.

Why did all the unbundling occur? It could be caused by the next trend - the Hamburger Button. You know, that ubiquitous button with the three horizontal lines. It's in every mobile app ever made. It's even on some websites when you view them on your desktop computer. What does it do? Nobody really knows. You just have to push it once and see what happens.

Don't get too excited, it probably just hides a bunch of features that are seldom used. So there's features in your app which you probably don't use, but the app maker doesn't want to remove them. Weren't we just talking about features in your apps that you do use and the app maker removes them? Weird, I know.
Typical Hamburger Buttons - Click Here for...Something!
Some people are advocating for the end of the Hamburger Button. A particularly critical review of its use can be found here: Kill The Hamburger Button.

But I'd prefer to see it taken to some absurd extreme first. For example, when will I see an app using buttons like these very creative icons by Nick Meloy?

Hamburger Buttons, by Nick Meloy
All of this sounds silly, but there's more! The final trend that ties all these things together is the one-button app! Apps like Yo. It just has one button. You push it and it sends "Yo" to someone. A brilliant team applied this same ultra-simple design to food ordering, and gave us Push for Pizza, the simplest food-ordering app ever. There's one button. You push it, and you get pizza.

So, why not make an app with just the Hamburger Button? Especially if it actually gets you a hamburger.

Amphibian.com comic for November 14, 2014