Options menu

It works like this:

  1. When a user presses the ‘menu’ button, the options menu appears. The options menu contains all relevant options to the current screen, both actions and links to start other activities.

  2. The options menu consists of 1 to 6 buttons containing an icon and title. The icon is used to identify the option, the title as support. Sort the options by relevancy from left to right & top to bottom, providing the most relevant option first. The icons in the menu can be arranged on a 2 by 3 grid or a 3 by 2 grid.

The menu is closed by pressing the back-button, pressing the menu-button, or touching the screen outside the menu.

Use when

You can use the options menu to display relevant options to the current screen, and/or commands that can start another activity. These options do not apply to a selected item in the content. For that, you need a context menu.

When you cannot lose screen real estate (e.g. for a Tab Bar), and you have up to 6 commands to be assigned to the current activity, the Options menu can be applied. When you have more than 6 commands in the menu, the surplus items can be displayed in an expanded options menu, accessed by a 'more' button.

The Good

  • Efficient use of screen space by displaying commands in the options menu.
  • Options are only visible when they are relevant to the user.
  • The menu button is an unalienable part of Android - after using a couple of apps, users will look for additional functions there. (Greg K.)
  • I want the code for this example (Zanakolona)
  • Whoveer edits and publishes these articles really knows what they\'re doing. (Jenelle)

The Bad

  • The commands are likely to vary in every screen – or may not be relevant at all – which can be confusing to the user.
  • The user can only see which options are applicable when he presses the menu button



    1 gStrings, an app that lets you tune instruments, provides 3 commands in it's options menu.


    1 The organizational tool Shuffle, shows an options menu with 6 commands.


    1 Gmail has 6 options in the options menu that consists of an action that can be performed in the current screen: Refresh, and 5 links to new screens.

    One Response to Options menu

    1. Giovanni Cappellotto says:

      Note: this pattern is deprecated, more details at http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/ui/menus.html

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