The Hidden Menu and Effective UI

A website design trend that has really taken hold is the hidden menu. This is the application of a site hiding their menu navigation when a visitor first lands on the main page. The hidden menu information becomes visible when the visitor is ready to move on to additional information and clicks on the requested icon.

The hidden menu used in the design shown below is a nod to the popular mobile hamburger menu, which is a widely used technique of responsive design. With the rise of mobile use, this UI technique has become an such an intuitive feature for the user that it is beginning to be regularly carried over into the overall design of a site.

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Home page with hidden menu design located on the right upper corner of the page.

The hidden menu application lends a great deal for user interface design and usability in keeping the user highly engaged due to the fact that information is  clearly illuminated, not being overwhelmed by mass amounts of initial content. A visitor to the site will quickly, intuitively and easily understand what the story being told is, and engage accordingly.

When a user has decided they would like to engage further, they move to click on the hidden menu, in this case the 3 horizontal bars. The menu expands, and they are then able to find out more information and be directed to the interior pages of the site navigation.

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Hidden Menu, Shown Expanded

With the constantly rising trend of mobile usage as a primary source of information, its not surprising that the hidden menu has gained popularity for main site design. In the current digital landscape where content has become critical, the hidden menu is one of the most effective tools in getting a user to truly understand the message in a short amount of time.

The success of a website, even a business on the whole, many times will rest on how well a navigation system works, so taking into consideration this rising trend is a a must to keep up with continual optimization and user experience.


Vanessa Petersen

As Executive Director of Brand Strategy based in ArtVersion’s Portland office, Vanessa manages both national and West Coast accounts. She brings with her a passion for strategy with extensive experience in creative marketing, brand growth and development. She is a true advocate of storytelling and brand building from the inside out, and her keen knowledge of the marketplace, trend patterns and usability lead her to identify opportunities that can inspire powerful design strategies.

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