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401: Three Dots

June 12, 2021

This week, we talk about a ubiquitous design crutch: the three dot menu. We examine the spread of this pattern and discuss potential solutions to avoid it. In The Sidebar, we recap WWDC 2021 and dive deep into our favorite announcements.

Golden Ratio Supporter:


Around is a better way to video call. It’s designed specifically to make it easier to gather small groups together to collaborate in real time, without all the distracting and frustrating interfaces that comes with most video chat software. We love the small floating heads and emphasis on making it easy to work alongside the video call, rather than constantly having to app switch.

You can get started for free by signing up at!

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  • Trí Nguyễn
  • Michael Wang
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  • Michael Goliver
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  • Tara Urso

The Sidebar:

The Sidebar is an exclusive weekly segment for our Patreon supporters. You can subscribe starting at $1 per month for access to bonus content going forward! Sign up at


  • Sean Sullivan tweeted: IMO Software can be finished. Think about software that ships on non Internet connected devices. We used to always ‘finish’ software products pre-SaaS. Big examples today would be secure embedded software systems.
  • Charmie Kapoor mentioned us as one of her top 3 podcasts for design and product – thank you!

Main Topic:

This week, we talk about three dot menus, the now-ubiquitous interface element that can be conveniently used to hide secondary and tertiary functions. We rant about the spread of the three dot virus and discuss potential alternatives to avoid it.

Cool Things:

  • Brian shared the Pride Edition Braided Solo Loop, a gorgeous, albeit expensive, band for your Apple Watch.
  • Marshall shared Inside, a New Tragedy from Bo Burnham. It’s beautifully written and performed, but very sad and poignant. A masterpiece.

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