Exploring WhatsApp's new popup menu as a UI case study

iOS standard popup menu vs. WhatsApp new popup menu. Which one is more convenient?

WhatsApp's new popup menu is a good example of how a mobile popup menu should look and behave. Let's tear it down to see why it's so much better than the default iOS popup menu:

In one of its' latest updates, WhatsApp introduced a new popup menu that replaced the regular horizontal iOS-style menu with a vertical one.
It’s noticeably different and much more convenient, and although it’s a small UI component I believe that the change was made because users actually used the popup menu a lot and it was not comfortable enough.

iOS standard popup menu vs. WhatsApp new popup menu. Which one is more convenient?

So why do I get all excited about it?
  1. Moving away from standard UI components to custom UI components is interesting
  2. The new popup menu is quite better than the iOS default one
  3. Using the new one made me realize how much I hate using the standard iOS popup menu

Yep, the new popup menu is much better.
Here are the advantages:
  • The verticalized list is easier to scan
  • Each menu item includes an icon and a text which is great
  • Instead of the tiny ▶︎ button (indicating there are more items) that is not finger friendly, there’s a new “More” menu item and guess what - this one actually works well!
    (admit it: how many times have you tried to hit the small ▶︎ button and accidentally closed the whole popup menu?)
  • The menu provides a super short and super elegant haptic feedback which improves the user experience and turns using the menu into an extremely delightful experience. 

So yes, I’m practically in love with this new popup menu. I think I’m gonna use it much more now. In fact, I might go play with it some more… (or... something like that…)
It emphasizes how bad the standard iOS popup menu is and I really hope someone at Apple decides to adopt it and turn it into an iOS standard.

[Read: Here's why Apple's 3D Touch failed]

Oh, wait a minute…
Come to think of it - Apple already some other popup menus, which is now even more weird, given that consistency is supposed to be so important to Apple's iOS user interface.

iOS springboard’s popup menus

What do you think of the new popup menu?

[Read: My 7 must-have ingredients for creating a true mobile experience]

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