Designing the Curtain Menu

A mobile alternative to the desktop drop-down menu.

I recently documented the process of designing a mobile optimised navigation for The goal was to create an experience based on the traditional drop-down menu for desktops, optimised for touch smaller screens and portrait orientation. After researching existing solutions I wanted to improve on them and the end result was a new design pattern for mobile navigation.

Read the article on to learn about the process behind the design.

Since documenting the process the article has spread throughout the design and UX community, met with a positive reception.

  • The article has been picked up by publications such as Smashing Magazine, who sent it to 181,175 email subscribers
  • For a while the article was one of Medium’s top articles and it claimed simultaneous 1st place “most read” for UX, Design, and Mobile categories.
  • It was even circulated on Reddit.

Also seeing the activity it’s generated on Twitter is really humbling and I appreciate the time people are taking to share it with others.

On the back of this I’ve also received lots of feedback and opinions as to what should be changed or improved. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but designers are pretty passionate and can be quite opinionated!

Of course feedback is not always positive. This is the internet after all. Amongst the opinions, agreeing or disagreeing with elements of the design, are assumptions as to what would improve the design. This has been quite interesting and I realised it draws a parallel between the feedback received from colleagues and stakeholders when I present new designs at work (albeit on a smaller scale). Although there is always a temptation to reply directly to everyone’s opinion (in the workplace and on the internet), I believe it’s more practical to skirt subjectivity and collate feedback into a pool of ideas and potential improvements. Any assumptions can then be proven or disproven by using data and user testing to iterate on the design.

Many designers have indicated they’d like to use the pattern in their own projects, which would be great to see. Some people are asking about the code for the menu design. If anyone wants to apply the design pattern to their own plugin or open source code, then I’d be happy to help where I can.

You can contact me on Twitter or find me on LinkedIn.