Hamburger icon: How these three lines mystify most people

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Hamburger icons (clockwise from top left): Spotify, BBC News, Amex, BBC Sport, T-Mobile, Now TV

Hamburger icons (clockwise from top left): Spotify, BBC News, Amex, BBC Sport, T-Mobile, Now TV

The hamburger button has become a common symbol on our smartphones, tablets and computers. But, Chris Stokel-Walker asks, what is it, where did it come from, and do people really know what it means?

Open up a smartphone, tablet application, or a website these days, and you’re likely to see an odd icon slung somewhere up in the top corner of the screen.

Three horizontal lines stacked on top of one another, looking like an equals sign gone wrong. Tap or click on the lines, and then you realise, it’s a menu.

These three lines have gained a personality, and a name – the hamburger button, because stripped back to its constituent parts, it looks slightly like a hamburger inside two halves of a bun.

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And like the hamburger, which has become a culinary cornerstone across the world, the hamburger button is rapidly spreading its way across the internet and on to our smartphones via apps.  Follow the link here

 

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