Changing the hamburger icon to the word ‘menu’ in the mobile navigation

September 2014
 AB TestControl and variation


B – the Amsterdam based travel giant – is known for its focus on data driven optimization. They already tested several placements and styles of the hamburger icon (with a border, without a border, with an icon, different colors, and so on), but had never tested the word ‘menu’. In the UX world there the hamburger menu is criticized frequently as being unclear to visitors.

Michel Ferreira – designer at – was wondering

“Are we wrong, and is everyone else right? Is this hurting our users? Do people actually understand what these little three lines are supposed to represent on our website?”

Time to let the data speak …


  Changing the hamburger menu to the word ‘menu’ will increase menu clicks. The hamburger menu is not clear and engaging enough for the visitos of


Changing the icon to the word “menu” had no significant impact on the behavior of the users: the hamburger icon performs just as well as the more descriptive version. The test was executed in over 41 languages.

Learnings concluded that on a global scale much-derided hamburger is, on the whole, just as recognizable to our users as the word ‘menu’.
Its actual placement, shape, size, position, and color are a subject for future tests.

Note that the combination of the hamburger menu with the word ‘menu’ underneath is also worth exploring.

Test details

Test element Navigation
Page type All
Test date September 2014

Website information

Company Booking
Market E-Commerce, Travel
Test result
Test element Navigation
Page All
Result insignificant clicks

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