June 2013

What’s a Hamburger Button? It’s the Hamburger that’s good for you.

There’s a hamburger you should try. It’s becoming really popular, people who try it seem to like it, it doesn’t make you (or your app) feel bloated…

Ok, enough of the poor wordplay, of course I’m talking about a Hamburger Button – that little three line icon you would have seen on apps that hides the primary navigation system until you tap on it.

Why talk about it? We build a lot of mobile sites and apps here at Fly Digital and have started seeing a real trend in clients moving away from tab bar navigation to the Hamburger way of navigating. It’s becoming a more widely accepted way to manage navigation on smaller screens.

Is it going to replace the tab bar? I think it will. The traditional tab bar that runs across the footer of many apps takes up a fair percentage of the screen real estate and usually only allows for 5 options at any one time. The Hamburger method takes up a tiny amount of screen space and can reveal a menu system that theoretically can be endless. These two reasons alone are going to move more app developers across to this method.

How does it work? In most cases, tapping the Hamburger icon slides the main content across to the right revealing a vertically scrolling view of menu items. Some apps also replicate this behaviour by allowing you to swipe across the main content.

The screenshots above show how the Facebook app on iOS does this. Below is a closeup of the Hamburger icon and expanded menu from the Teambox app also on iOS:

Why ‘Hamburger’? Well the icon itself has been around for a while but was originally designed to represent a set of drawers that when opened reveal additional content. However as it’s been used more widely in the mobile world (and probably in a bar somewhere on a Friday during lunch) developers have recently decided that the three layers looked more like a stylised burger instead, hence the name.

5 things we can learn from Game Of Thrones

1) The King is not always right, nor is the client

Joffrey has made some bad decisions in his short reign and if you’re really honest I’m sure the same could be said about your clients. But when this happens it’s rarely a good idea to simply nod and obey for fear of losing your head (or the contract). Always remember that you’ve been put in the position you’re in by a client or customer because you’re the specialist. So be a bit more like Tyrion Lannister and stand up for what you believe in. Because ultimately the King will be better off as a result.

2) Don’t judge too early, find the best in people and jobs

At first glance it’s easy to discount Hodor as a man of simple thoughts, few words and unable to offer a lot else. But without him Bran Stark would literally be in a very different place to where he is today. The same can be said about that job that looks a bit dodgy from the initial brief, or the potential employee who you didn’t get a good vibe from. Don’t give up too early, you can rarely get an accurate idea of how a project or person will turn out from first glance. I’ve had projects that sounded pretty uninteresting from the initial brief, but after taking the time to talk to the client and hear how passionate they were about it they’ve actually ended up being really interesting and profitable exercises all round.

3) Adapt or die

Wildlings don’t adapt very well. Generation after generation have attacked the Wall and each time the result has been the same – failure. If you don’t adapt as a small business and stubbornly adopt the same strategy over and over, you will fail too. It doesn’t matter if people want you or your products now, in time they won’t. Guaranteed. So if you want to succeed and don’t want to end up cold and alone beyond the wall make sure you are prepared to adapt to the market and to your enemies. It’s the only way to survive.

4) Expect the unexpected

(Season One spoiler alert) After Ned confessed to treason everybody thought Joffrey would show compassion and things would go back to normal. But a sudden change of heart and slash of the sword and things changed forever. When you run a small business I truly believe you have to expect and plan for the worst. Ask yourself, if you lost your biggest client could you still survive? If sales started declining rather than growing how long until the business started dying? What percentage of current income could you lose before you had to start slashing overheads? Always have a plan B for what you’d do if your current income stream was severed. It’s not a nice thing to think about but the more you do the more quickly you’ll be able to adapt if it ever happened.

5) Where Are My Developers?

And finally, don’t be like Daenerys Targaryen and turn your back on your Dragons (Developers) because when people find out how valuable they are they’ll try and steal them from you. Right now in the Australian market I believe that finding and keeping a good developer is one of the hardest parts of the job. So when you find one, be good to them and hang on to them. Because as a Technology Company you will lose the battle without them.