BMW Group : A hamburger that should be off the menu

The German carmaker’s odd variation on the hamburger menu requires its own instructions.

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The feature

There is an unusual-looking hamburger menu on secondary and tertiary pages on the BMW Group’s corporate website. The three lines of the ‘hamburger’ are partially overlaid by right arrow or ‘greater than’ sign (>).

Clicking the icon (or the accompanying heading itself) collapses all of the tertiary or deeper level headings contained on the long-scrolling pages into a menu of ‘jump links’. For example, if you click on the icon on the ‘Company Portrait’ page, all of the tertiary options on the page collapse into a menu – ‘A consistent focus on the premium segment’, ‘Our strategy’, ‘Board of management’, etc.

On a smartphone, the menu comes with its own instructions: ‘Show an overview of the topics on this page for selection,’ which were absent from the desktop version.

The takeaway

The designers of BMW’s variation on the hamburger menu make the mistake of assuming visitors to corporate sites want or need to take time to learn specialised navigation. Many users of corporate sites come too infrequently for it to be worth the effort, and will likely just be confused and frustrated. Even for frequent visitors, the mechanism is still fiddly. And the instructions on the smartphone version are unclear.

Maybe there should be a rule of thumb – if your hamburger needs instructions, take it off the menu.
First published 08 March, 2017
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