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On my application, I need a simple menu with just three items: "Options", "Help" and "About". The app has a custom interface (it doesn't have a standard menu) and to keep it clean and simple, I want to regroup all these options under one menu.

How should I call the button that will open this menu? Currently, it's called "Options" but I don't think it's a good choice. Any suggestion?

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Do you really have to hide the help away under another menu? –  Roger Attrill Aug 12 '11 at 10:10

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You could call it "More".

But I'd seriously consider presenting the three options openly, without a menu. This is an important point that many people don't realize - making an interface simple doesn't always mean hiding away as much chrome as possible. If you have three buttons and no menus, your UI is simpler than if you have a menu with the three buttons inside. Menus are meant to save space, support the Information Architecture, and to allow gradual exposure when the app is complicated. In your case it doesn't sound like any of these is a real problem you're facing.

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I would suggest to call the menu button Menu. Sounds obvious, but maybe it is best to go what most users would recognize immediately. However, this implies that there is no other menu.

Options within a button called Options really sounds a bit strange ...

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Google uses a gear icon:

enter image description here

(Sorry about the huge picture, I'm on a Chromebook)

I like the gear icon because it clearly implies "settings" and when clicked displays a dropdown menu containing secondary navigation related to settings that I don't necessarily need to see all the time. (Which settings are available depends on which Google property you're viewing)

I agree with Roger that you might not want to hide help beneath a menu. Consider what I said above, that secondary navigation could be initially hidden. But perhaps help doens't function like we expect and putting it in this menu is a good thing. As always, usability test to discover which links belong here and whether your users are still able to find what they're looking for.

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In my opinion, the gear icon only works here because it is integrated into a "menu bar". If the gear would be the only button on this screen, it's affordance would be much weaker. –  giraff Aug 14 '11 at 14:03

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