An Oral History of the Hamburger Icon

Share with your friends

When UX and product designer Geoff Alday got curious about who was responsible for the hamburger menu a few years ago, he did a little digging. He unearthed a video on Vimeo from a 1990 conference that demo-ed the history of widgets. In a segment about menus, the narrator describes how, on the title bars of windows in the Xerox Star, you find menu buttons, three little lines stacked in a square.

Everyone who’s ever scrambled to make a basic mobile-friendly website in recent times has probably used one. The hamburger has become a good option. Users the world over know what those three little lines mean.

What many don’t know, however, is how this tiny symbol is a direct portal into the beginnings of personal computing, the place where it all started. I spoke with three of the people who were there—Cox, David Canfield Smith, and Ralph Kimball—about how the hamburger came to be, the heady days of the Xerox Star’s inception and what the best design thinking (the kind that yields 40-year old symbols still going strong) looks like.

You might also like

Google’s Vibrant New Interface Makes it Super Easy to Buy from Black Brands
Google’s Vibrant New Interface Makes it Super Easy to Buy from Black Brands

Google’s Vibrant New Interface Makes it Super Easy to Buy from Black Brands

How Bumble’s clever design helped the app go public
How Bumble’s clever design helped the app go public

How Bumble’s clever design helped the app go public

Big Review of Major UI Design Trends for Web and Mobile in 2020
Big Review of Major UI Design Trends for Web and Mobile in 2020

Big Review of Major UI Design Trends for Web and Mobile in 2020

An Oral History of the Hamburger Icon
An Oral History of the Hamburger Icon
Credit : Invision App

Creative Fields

Category

Tags

Weekly Updates

Access hand-picked content in your inbox every week! We won't spam you, promise!