Issue #9569 resolved

New left-side icon menu is totally unusable (BB-10696)

created an issue

The new left-side icon menu is a usability disaster. I don't know what any of these cryptic icons are and I don't expect I'll ever learn. Accessing the labels is inconvenient because on my main development machine it requires a click just to see what I'm doing, and once it comes up it occludes content (I tried on another computer with a larger monitor and the side menu auto-expanded, which is better, but doesn't help me. There seems to be no pattern which items are given icons and which items are hidden under the wastebasket "..." menu.

"Press [ to expand menu", is, I am serious, probably the *weirdest UX decision I have ever seen on a website". The only kind of software I think anyone would consider that sensible in is a command-line curses app. This is a website.

Expected behavior: Site navigation and actions should be accessible by labeled buttons or links which are visible at all times. Labels are more important than icons (because I know what "Pull Requests" means but I don't know what a box with an arrow in it is). If putting the buttons on the left side of the screen forces you to shrink those buttons until they are just incomprehensible icons, then this means you should not have put the buttons on the left side of the screen.

Marking "major" because if people who come to my site cannot find important verbs like "clone" or "issues" because they are hidden behind easy-to-overlook hieroglyphs, I will have to consider moving my files off Bitbucket. This is a site-breaking issue from my perspective.

Comments (5)

  1. C P


    Can you use verbs, or words for the nav instead?

    Or, is there a way to revert to way it was before the changes?

  2. Zach Davis staff

    C P We did make a change so that more of our users will see the "expanded" version of the sidebar by default, which includes labels in addition to the icons. Only users with fairly narrow browsers, or those who have explicitly collapsed the sidebar, should see the icons-only version. This was an intentional choice to allow for more space for the main content of the page.

  3. tecmark

    I have to second this and say the new left-hand nav is a horrible UX. Despite what has been said above, I consistently seem to always get the collapsed nav when opening a repo on This is on a 1440 wide screen, not a small device.

    Maybe it's just me, but the 'Overview' and 'Source' icons (which seem to be the ones I'm always looking for) have absolutely no relevant meaning. The Overview icon looks like a bar chart and the Source icon looks like a battery that is half charged.

    In the absence of space both icons and text, I think just the text alone would be far easier to navigate.

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