Ive been looking at different types of mobile menus systems/patterns and notice three main ones being used, Off canvas, drill-down or accordion.

Is there a rule to which one you should use or is it a free choice as there is no hard and fast rule to it?

  • Would definitely recommend checking out the Design guidelines and approaching the one that suits for your choice of mobile platform, depending upon the number of elements in the menu. – Swapnil Borkar Jun 22 '16 at 4:29
  • By "off canvas", do you mean the famous hamburger icon to slid in a menu? Maybe an example (image?) for each will draw more answers... – virtualnobi Jun 22 '16 at 7:00
  • @virtualnobi yes, that's the one. – Bjarni Jun 22 '16 at 9:26

There are no hard and fast rules. You may pick and choose however you feel best fits your application style and needs.

However, there are general guidelines that each mobile platform proposes to enhance the consistency and usability of apps on their platform. You may choose to follow these guidelines if you wish to make your app "fit in" better within a given platform/ecosystem. However, if you desire to make one unifying experience across all platforms (including possibly a web or desktop version as well), you can certainly roll your own.

Here are all 3 platform's UI Design Guidelines for reference:

Windows 10 UI Design Guidelines

Apple iOS UI Design Guidelines

Android UI Design Guidelines

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