Users Are Not Designers

While I open a mobile radio app, a screen (on the right) appears, describing how to use a feature in the application. The instruction says “Slide into the drawer to get started.” donotusejargonThe drawer? I think most of the people outside the UI (user interface) design world may not know what it means. Fortunately, there is a pink arrow in the picture, so I guess the three line icon is the drawer.

“The drawer” on a mobile screen is a technical term UI designers or developers use to refer to a UI element at the top corner of a mobile screen. Usually, it is a three line icon that allows users to show or hide a navigation panel. Designers may call it a hamburger icon. (This is a big misnomer since this icon has nothing to do with the hamburger metaphor.)

“Drawer” is not a bad metaphor to use since it indicates the behavior of pulling out and pushing in. However, to conjure the image of a drawer from these three small lines, one has to be exceptionally imaginative.

In addition, I’m not clear on the instruction, which says “Slide into the drawer…” What am I supposed to slide into? Assuming I know the icon stands for the drawer, how could I slide into it? Added to the confusion is the pink arrow, it’s pointing down. So my immediate response is to side the icon down.  To make it simple, I would say “Slide the side menu to the right to see more options.” menu_icon_2

To make it simple and plain, I would simply call it a side menu if it appears from the left or right side. I think the three lines represent more like a menu. See the example from the Frontier Communication mobile app. It simply uses “menu icon”.

UI designers or developers can call something whatever it makes in their field. However, for the general public, it would be more helpful to name something that they could easily relate to or understand.

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