Designing Mobile App Menus with User Navigation Guidelines

Sanam Malhotra | 7th June 2019

Over 2.1 billion people* surf the web using smartphones. Mobile applications play a big role in enabling users to effortlessly find what they are looking for. They have also become an essential medium for businesses to stay connected with their target audience. The more intuitive a mobile app is, the better engagement it can garner to achieve business objectives. The primary requirement for building intuitive mobile apps is to provide the user with easy and clear mobile navigation. The ‘Menu bar’ meets a critical requirement of users to browse the offerings of a business. Therefore, when mobile app developers provide mobile app design services, they ensure that menu items are as orderly and engaging as possible. The idea is to give users full control of in-app navigation and optimize user experience significantly.


Industry- appropriate Mobile Navigations in Mobile App Design Services


Hick’s law says that the more choices we present to users, the longer it takes them to make a decision. Compressed menu designs or minimalist menu options suit businesses with a limited range of offerings. However, UX design services for a large entity such as Amazon cannot include minimalist menu designs.


So, what is the best solution to display menu items according to your business size?


1) Mega-menus for Industry Giants

Mega-menus are large drop-down lists that display all the major category links of the business services. The items in the list are clickable and take users to the landing page of that category label. Mega-menus are displayed within the ‘Services/Shop/Specialities’ tab within the top navigation bar. The list items can be further segregated into sub-categories, to enable users to narrow down their search.


menu navigation web design services


Although web design services have enough room for mega-menus, they hinder user experience on mobile screens. Now UX designers have devised effective means way to compress mega-menus for mobile screens.

For instance, Amazon has minimized its global navigation inside the ‘Shop by Category’ tab. The design technique includes all categories in a vertical list with split buttons to show further divisions.

UX designers must avoid displaying items in alphabetical order. They should instead portray the list of items into similar categories.


mega menus for mobile app design services


However, the same design technique may not work for organizations whose users are unfamiliar with all of its services.


For instance, medical institutes such as BLK hospital cannot compress their services within a ‘Facilites’ tab. In such cases, it is critical for the organization to clearly inform users about their specific services. It not only enables users to make a quick decision but also leads to better navigation.


menu navigation mobile app design services



2) Hamburger Vs Kebab Menus for subject-specific organizations

Have you ever noticed the menu navigation icon while scrolling through your G-mail or WhatsApp account?

Google has smartly minimized the menu choices for its separate business lines within the left-aligned hamburger navigation. The design practice involves an icon with three vertically aligned lines.



hamburger menu ux design services



On the other hand, WhatsApp places the menu on the top-right corner of the screen inside three vertically aligned dots.  


kebab menu mobile app design services


Both the Hamburger and Kebab navigation are by far the safest and most effective navigation designs for mobile screens. However, it is important to take note of the following tips before finalizing any one of the two menu navigation-

  1. Users are better able to skim through the choices if they are displayed in a left-to-right alignment. It is therefore advisable to present menu items in a left-aligned pattern.
  2. Experts suggest that displaying the menu categories in an all-caps fashion reduces the legibility by almost 10%. Thus, the category names must be displayed with only capitalized initials. It improves readability and eventually the user experience.
  3. Further, the color contrast between the category name and the background of the page must be balanced correctly. It enables users to clearly interpret the text and choose effortlessly.


You may also like to read- Best Practices in Typography for Enhancing Brand’s Digital Identity


The menu navigation designs for mobile screens are still in their embryonic age. Mobile app design services are constantly experimenting with a variety of distinct menu icons and displays. However, the above-mentioned tips are evidence-based techniques to significantly optimize the user experience and drive maximum user engagement.

Oodles Studio provides Mobile App Design Services for iOS and Android mobiles, smartwatches, wearable gadgets, and other smart devices. Talk to our UX design team for building dedicated mobile applications from scratch and refining existing mobile interfaces.


*Study Source-

Image Sources- Google

About Author


Sanam Malhotra

Sanam is a technical writer at Oodles, covering UI/UX, AI, machine learning, and other digital subject matters. Her writings for Oodles Studio stretches from design principles to engaging mobile applications. Fascinated by the scope of web UI/UX, she explores how businesses can reinforce their brand personalities using next-gen tools and technologies.

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