Continuing the discussion from Full height, slide out hamburger menu:
Here, I will make my argument in support of the left-aligned hamburger menu convention, combined with a reworking of Discourse’s default navigation of index pages.
Upon entering meta.discourse.org, you would see this:
Drilling into a Category, you see this:
- Hamburger menu has absorbed the top sub-navigation.
- Hamburger menu is shown by default on index pages (on Desktop, not Mobile)
- Fills the same need as the sticky navigation.
On topic pages it is hidden by default. Here’s what it would look like if clicked:
- In the context of a topic the hamburger serves the exact same purpose as it did before: Jump anywhere you’d like. It’s just way more familiar this way, as opposed to designing a separate menu serving up the same options.
The miscellaneous page links formerly kept in the hamburger menu has been moved to an even more subtle drop-down menu adjacent to the About link. (Though I think all of these pages should be discoverable via the About page itself as well, like some of those links already are.)
- This means more code re-use since there’s no longer any special treatment required to make the category selection inside the old hamburger display in a smart way. The one-and-only Category drop-down should be made to scale well for forums big and small. Developers or designers should not have to worry about more than one category selector.
- If some forum puts Tags or Badges or what-have-you to special use, they should have an official way of adding proper, prominent navigational items for these, similar to how Meta has special shortcuts for Bugs and Features.
- I removed views to make room for the sticky sidebar.
- I think links like “Admin” and “Flags” ought to be moved to the Profile menu, which will hopefully consume the notifications menu.
Once again, Flarum is an obvious inspiration here. That being said, I don’t like the way they turn the sidebar into a mini-topic-list once you’ve dug into a topic (Vanilla Forum also pulls a fast one on you in the sidebar sometimes). I want my left-hand sidebar to be my trusty lighthouse.
Essentially what we’re getting out of this is VBulletin’s old “quick jump menu”, but on UX steroids.