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I have iOS language learning software where I use a UISplitViewController (Master/Detail) in landscape mode. At the top level, I have items such as (Study, Quiz, Dictionary, Hangman, etc.)

Some menu items take the user directly to the Detail screen. However, most screens, like Quiz, display another list from which the user must choose a category.

I don't want to keep the navigation on the screen because I'd like to use the entire screen for the detail. A couple of options that I'm considering are:

  1. Hide the navigation once the user selects the desired option. This Vimeo video explains how (http://vimeo.com/13054813).

  2. Use a slide-out navigation menu. Is this acceptable for multi-level (tree?) lists? I don't recall seeing any apps using this.

Here's the app

And here are a couple of screenshots:

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3 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Here are some examples of apps that uses multilevel navigation menus that is dismissed when the user is in an immersive mode:

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Older versions of Windows (95, XP) used a multi-level start menu. Windows 7 does too, however, it indents in-place instead of opening up a new menu. The problem with multi-level-slide-out-menus is that they take up too much screen space.

If instead you expand the selected menu item in-place with no or with little indentation (e.g. 2 spaces instead of an entire menu item indentation), you save screen space.

If on clicking on each menu item, you hide the previous menu, users won't have a way to go back up the menu. For this to work correctly, you need to add a "<" button to the left of the menu when you go into a sub menu (or a ">" button to the right if the localization is RTL instead of LTR) which the user can use to go back up to the parent menu.

Another option is to fit a crumb-bar into the top of the menu, so the user can navigate back up it, however, this may confuse the user, since crumb-bars are usually used to navigate pages, not within the menu.

Create a screen shot of these options and take the expected number of items in each level, expected depth (number of levels) and average character length of items into account and see which looks easier to use in your case.

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There's nothing wrong with using a slide-out multi-level menu on tablets, as long as the drill down happens in-place, as Danny suggested. Take Facebook for iPad (also for Android) - it has a slide-out menu where most of the items are one-level, but you can also find two-level items if you tap Groups or Pages. You can see an example here.

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