Ive been trying to think through some alternative text to place next to a hamburger nav icon.

I feel 'menu' sounds like a restaurant, although the only other thing i could think of was to use the word 'nav' (which although as a designer i know what it means, Im pretty sure most people dont). What else could it be called that is easily understood by a wide range of people ?

Ps. im aware of the controversy surround hamburger navs, but in this instance its an appropriate fit.

Example of a hamburger icon with text


  • 2
    You could alternatively use "Sites" or "Pages", which are both short and understandable in contrast to an abbreviated "Navigation".
    – CodeManX
    Jul 19, 2014 at 15:30

2 Answers 2


I would argue that the most accurate word besides menu would be "navigation". Shortening it to nav might be alienating for a less tech-literate audience.

But stay aware of innovating for the sake of innovation."Menu" is a metaphor that is pretty well-established and has taken years for users to internalize.

On one hand I think it is important to stay critical and ask these kinds of questions once in a while, so we don't end up working based on outdated assumptions (i.e. how long further may the floppy disk icon live as a universal symbol of saving? - most teenagers have never seen a floppy disk) but be aware that you are quite likely to introduce more friction by changing extremely commonly used patterns, so it should generally be for "the greater good", whenever you do so.

Personally I think the metaphor "menu" is quite good for what it does. It provides the user a series of options from which he or she can choose what instructions to give your application in very much the same way as you choose from "instruction sets" for the kitchen in a restaurant.

BTW: This study might be of interest to you: http://exisweb.net/mobile-menu-abtest


IMO it really depends on the context of your App/Site. Using the text which suits your context may becomes more intuitive for the user as well as he builds a frame of reference.

I worked on a shopping App, They were specifically showing shopping categories in hamburger menu. For them its a great idea to use the text like below

enter image description here

Many Shopping apps may want to show more than categories such as "shop by your location". There You can simply make it like below.

enter image description here

In general context as I can see you don't want to use word "Menu". You can use "Explore"

enter image description here

Now a days Apps/Sites have also started showing their "Logo" icon as hamburger. I believe thats also a great Idea, However you need to have a suitable icon for that. Medium is a great example for this

enter image description here

Finally, I would say it really depends on App-to-App. If you can provide a little detail or background about the app to get more help.

  • 1
    I would love to see a crazy egg heatmap of the Medium nav to see how many people actually click on it.. personally i think its way to subtle the normal convention is that clicking on the logo will take you back to the home page..
    – sam
    Jul 20, 2014 at 17:27
  • I like the idea of using a word that effectively describes what the menu contains. Thing of an ordinary application on your (desktop) computer. You have a "File" menu and an "Edit" menu, but never a menu that is actually labelled "Menu". In addition to "EXPLORE", other generic words which might work are "CONTENTS", "INDEX", "OPTIONS" or simply "MORE". (I suspect Medium's big M would be a lot more effective if they added an "ore" to it...) Which word to choose really depends on what type of navigation is hidden behind the icon.
    – AmeliaBR
    Jul 20, 2014 at 21:42

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