Hamburger menu - should be on the left or right?


Hello All,

The Hamburger Menu I see the most is on the left side: Youtube app, Gmail app and many more. However, I’ve seen the argument of the left/right being more user-friendly because when you’re grabbing the phone with your left/right hand, it’s easier to reach the menu.

What do you guys think?

Why avoid Hamburger Menus?

I’m not sure if anybody has gotten around to reading “Designing for Touch” yet, but I imagine there would be a wealth of considerations discussed in this book:

It is a familiar pattern to see the menu in the top left, although it isn’t ideally placed for right handed users (the majority), who use the device in one hand. As with most things there is an element of “it depends”, what other elements are in the interface? Do you need a “Back”, a “Cancel”, a “Done”, if you are designing an app UI then these requirements could dictate the placement.

A post worth reading which relates to placement:

Something that you also should consider is whether a hamburger is the best solution for you. There have been a wealth of posts which relate to how poor hamburger menus perform, including this one:

Finally this post is worth a read: - if you cannot avoid hiding some options behind a menu then perhaps it would be wiser to use language, rather than iconography.


I’ve been wondering for quite a while less about left vs. right placement and more about top vs. bottom. For even light, single-hand use, the distance up to the menu on screens over five inches is too much for most thumbs. Google recently updated Material design specs with some additional bottom navigation (…avigation.html), though a hamburger style menu was not included.

So what about having a hamburger in the bottom-center of the screen, with the menu options in ascending order from most to least used?


Other considerations are:

  • Which conventions may need to be broken or retained across the adaptive designs? Information architecture, menu positioning, OS/ecosystem engagement-related stuff too.
  • Which other navigation-related elements are also used (global navigation, account settings, other menus or links), and how important is this menu amidst those?
  • How important is this menu for the frequent use of these screens?
  • How savvy is the target audience with use of the hamburger menu pattern?

While placing ‘menu’ text beside (or instead of) the icon seems to communicate with users more clearly, I’ve also seen people wonder if it is a food menu, so it’s not without issues either. Facebook uses ‘more’.


Funnily enough I’ve seen that on a restaurant website myself. ‘Menu’ would be certainly be more appropriate in some instances over others.


I’ve always been a big proponent of putting things where folks are used to finding them even if they are not the best ways to make the system interactions fast.

The measure of a quality interface is determined by the end user and they measure quality by their frustration level. If they don’t have to think in order to find the menu in the top left (I like to add “menu” too) that is likely the best place to put it.

Some of my favorite projects in UX have been those where we have actually removed functionality from a system in order to make the UX more intuitive and once it’s done the users rave about how much better things are.

Lesson learned tends to be that making things appear “right” is more important than trying to force the user to evolve.


Just like @Alvey_UX, I also usually put things where users know they can find them. So my hamburger menu (although I avoid using it as often as I can get away with it) is always on the left side in apps. Sometimes I put it on the right side on mobile websites.

What I think is more important is not its placement, but how else you can make the navigation active. I never understood apps with a hamburger menu where the side navigation doesn’t become active when the user swipes from the side of the screen. I think this is really important to keep in mind.


My concern with becoming too attached to this type of thinking is that it actively prevents you from being a change leader and may lead you to overlook conditions that demand change for the sake of to adhering to “best practices,” (like in this example, phone screens that are nearly 6 inches diagonally).

Yes, a change in navigation placement may initially require an increase in cognitive load, but every brilliant deviation from the norm requires this. Like pull-to-refresh, the goal is to make the change feel natural and necessary and eventually ubiquitous.


SO true. I think that’s a very valid concern. There has to be middle ground. Change for change’s sake is dangerous, but then so is getting left behind.