Apple’s embrace of the ellipsis menu, née hamburger menu

As I’ve been exploring iOS 13 to write the just-released Take Control of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, I’ve become concerned about what seems to be an increasingly frequent pattern in iOS software design. What finally pushed me over the edge into writing this article was documenting Apple Card’s user interface in Wallet, because I found myself typing the same character over and over and over…

That’s right, I’m talking about the increasingly ever-present ellipsis ••• buttons in iOS (technically, we generally render a user-interface ellipsis in running text as three bullets to make them more easily seen).

At WWDC 2014, Apple railed against the hamburger menu, and ever since it’s very vogue in Apple developer circles to make fun of the hamburger menu. I guess Apple’s major, magical innovation of replacing the three lines with three dots was enough for the company to adopt the concept completely.

Of course, Apple has no taste and has no clue how to design good user interfaces these days, so they made it worse by using the button all over the place in weird locations and have it do different things in different places, but we’ll let that slide.


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