I am designing a CRM software for iPad native app. I need your suggestion for navigation part in UX aspect.

Left pane (main navigation) will be shown by default (Image 1). When you go to another tab, we can provide in two ways to hide left pane:

NOTE: Other than “Hamburger Menu” issue, here are the two ways of showing main menu for best user experience: http://lmjabreu.com/post/why-and-how-to-avoid-hamburger-menus/

Option1: To showing tab icons alone without label:

  • Pros:
    • Less space for left pane
    • Once the user learns, it will be useful
  • Cons:
    • User might not recognise the icons alone.
    • If icon’s metaphor is not initiative, it might create confusion.
    • Some of the users does not try “Menu” icon (I have tested with 10 people, Only 2 of them were able to figure it out)

Option2: No left pane, after clicking another tab:

  • Pros
    • Will get more space
    • Anyway, user should click on “Menu” icon only (Even I tried with 10 different people all of them clicked on the menu icon)
  • Cons:
    • Visually might look blank. If we show the navigation as icon stripe it looks nice.

I hope you are clear with my points. Please share your thoughts on this which one should I select.

Image 1:

enter image description here

Image 2 (Options): enter image description here

1 Answer 1


TL;DR It really depends on how your users will use your app. If they switch between sections very often, you may prefer the first option otherwise the second is better.

From my experience, the second option is the more common.

If they switch between sections very often, you may prefer the first option.

If all your menu sections are equally important and that the users use equally frequently, always showing icons for different sections is a good solution:

  • New users (that don't recognize the icons) will use the menu icon to display the labels
  • Users that are used to your app will not show the labels and will have a faster browsing and experience

Example 1: GMail iOS App (and many other mail app) GMail iPad app, menu closed GMail iPad app, menu opened

Example 2: Twitch website Twitch website, menu closed Twitch website, menu opened

If the users stick to one section, you may prefer the second option.

If the users do not often switch between the menu sections, hide the menu (your option 2) in order to get more screen estate and will focus the user on the content.

Example 1: Google Maps iOS App (and many other map-related apps) Google Maps iPad app, menu closed Google Maps iPad app, menu opened

Other examples: Google Drive, New-York Times (and many article/text-based app, for improved readability), Facebook...

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