I am looking to implement a mobile / tablet application. It currently has two views: an items list view that shows all the items, and an item detail view which shows more detail about a single item. The list of items is very long and would not fit in one screen (scrolling is needed).

My question is, for the list view, what are the reasons that I should choose a main page view over a side menu and vice versa? What benefits does one provide over the other? How might the context of the application matter?

As an example, a detail view could look like this:

enter image description here

The main view version would look like:

enter image description here

Example of applications that use this type of list view include: Gmail (emails view -> email content view) and LINE (chats view -> chat content view)

The side menu version would look like:

enter image description here

Example of applications that use this type of list view include: Slack (chats view -> chat content view)

  • 2
    As in your examples, content and meaning of items differ based on what the application is intended. What is your application for? What are the items? Why do you think Gmail way would be better for your application? Or the Slack way? Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 17:32
  • Side menu is the navigational component, list of items is main content. Side menu should have categories of your items, not the full list itself as it looses sense then.
    – xul
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 20:11
  • I intend to ask this question very generally. I cannot find any reference on the internet regarding main menu vs side menu for long list of items. That is the reason that I left out the items. I do believe as @xul has said; side menu should contain only navigational components and long list of items should be contained in the main menu. However, when trying to explain why to my colleagues, I don't know why is it better as there are examples of other applications that use different ways. For example, LINE and Slack, which are both chat applications, use different ways.
    – krismath
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


The reasons are simple, we should not undermine the homepage by using unnecessary navigation links but present valuable content that is helpful for increased conversion (source).

Make secondary tasks available through menus or “below the fold” (the part of the webpage that can’t be seen without scrolling down).

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