Color. Clarity. White space. Typography. It’s the visual balance driving any good art exhibition or magazine. But we’re not talking about either today. We’re talking about the McDonald’s Full Menu Explorer. It’s the complete McDonald’s menu, laid out entirely on a single page of their website.
Everything from the ubiquitous Big Mac to the news-to-us Bacon Buffalo Ranch McChicken is here, appearing as a photo of similar size and weight amongst its peers. To see every item you can possibly eat or drink at McDonald’s is borderline fun and as you scroll, the food's color naturally demarcates the menu. The beige-colored buns of the many burgers segue to the white wraps that then leads to a breakfast menu that injects a healthy dose of yellow in the form of eggs. Eventually you reach the lime green salads, and then, to top it all off, a rainbow of dessert items (though variations of the color pink, brown, and orange dominate here since the Shamrock Shake is not in season).
We could digress about how hilarious it is to see the McRib's bloody haunch of pork on a bun imposing itself into the delicate wraps section. But the visuals are only part of the menu’s appeal. The magic happens when you mouse over any menu item and its nutrition facts appear. Comparing a Double Cheeseburger to a McDouble takes a microsecond, and should you choose to click in to any item, you can explore its nutrition facts further, and even add it to a “meal builder.”
In other words, McDonald’s has presented their menu with a borderline beautiful informational clarity. But a skeptic might analyze their choices differently, of course. There are no combos presented on this menu for those who simply order and consume a whole Value Meal, meaning a customer might underestimate their total intake by looking at each distinct item. Additionally, both sugar and saturated fats are left off that super convenient mouse-over of nutrition facts. Of course designers had to draw the line somewhere, lest they overwhelm their audience with information overload. But these sugars and saturated fats are arguably the biggest reasons that our favorite McDonald’s foods aren’t generally considered healthy.
That said, the menu is a very nice piece of work. And you only need go so far as Burger King’s menu--which includes combo meals, BTW-- to see how decisions like a quieter background, putting a full menu on a single page, or quick-draw nutrition facts can make all the difference to user experience.