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Scrolling menu
worth the hassle?
mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 11:06 pm on Jan 26, 2001 (gmt 0)
After I got rid of frames on our site, our longer pages suffer the annoying problem of the navigation menu getting lost at the top of the page as you scroll down... I put in all the "back to top" links, but I really miss the static navigation menu effect the frames had...

I found a javascript that allows the navigation menu to scroll down the page as the page rolls down, but I'm not sure if I want to use the technique on the site... The menu doesn't stay "static", it actually jumps down the page as you scroll. I'm not sure the effect is something the average visitor will be comfortable looking at.

I'd really like to get some second opinions before I decide whether or not to implement these menus site-wide. Could anyone interested please stop by the test page and let me know what you think?

Test Page
http://www.absak.com/basic/alt_test.html

Regular Page
http://www.absak.com/basic/alt_enrgy.html

 

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 11:19 pm on Jan 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

The movement is very jerky on my screen -- a problem I've seen with most of these travelling menu scripts. Also, I've found some compatibility problems with Mac browsers.

My own experience to date has shown no real problems when the navigation scrolls off the visible page. The gains from de-framing sites have been strong, and pageviews have gone up, not down.

We made the de-framing conversion for two sites in the last year. Had all the same concerns as you have, but no problems materialized in the real world. We went to completely flat pages in both cases.

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 11:29 pm on Jan 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

> Also, I've found some compatibility problems with Mac browsers.

Well, I work on a Mac, and I've looked at it on Netscape 4.7 and IE 5 as well as IE on the NT machine I occassionally *have* to use. It does seem jerky, but works on all platforms, and the menu is still in it's old static spot when I turn JS off in the browsers...

> My own experience to date has shown no real problems when the navigation scrolls off the visible page.

I wouldn't imagine it's a real "problem" as it's a fairly common phenomenon on many sites.... I just find it kind of a hassle (one of the reasons I *like* frames, darnit!) personally.

Always in the market for new cool doodads and better mousetraps, but I'll put one vote down in the "no" column.

Incidentally, one of my co-workers (a definite web novice), thinks it's nifty and keen as all git-out. But I wonder how many web novices are going to be willing to buy high-priced specialty (alternative energy) products online in the first place?

It seems we'd attract a more web-savvy potential buyer, and if the web-savvy masses decide the skipping menus are a no-go, I'll probably go with that. Then again, the web-savvy user is also the least likely to be "scared off" by a novel design element, so maybe...

Thinking out loud... I'll think to myself now.

rcjordan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 12:16 am on Jan 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

> My own experience to date has shown no real problems when the navigation scrolls off the visible page.

I just helped an office spec out 2 new desktops from the local shop. These are for moderate-to-heavy users. I couldn't talk them into a trackball, because they didn't want their home machines to be a different mouse. To my surprise, they were quite adamant about a "good scrolling mouse" and even forked out extra money for some sleek-looking MS countoured model because it evidently has a reputation for handling scrolling very well. From the way the sales/techie talked, this is a much-requested feature now. This may account for some of the acceptance.

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 12:58 am on Jan 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

> evidently has a reputation for handling scrolling very well. From the way the sales/techie talked, this is a much-requested feature now. This may account for some of the acceptance.

I know once I got a scroll-wheel mouse at work, dealing with my mac one-button mouse at home has become a major hassle. having to become fluent in two different mouse/input device standards is annoying.

But from my personal browsing habits, I'd prefer having a navigation menu waiting for me at the bottom of the page to either hitting a 'back-to-top' link or scrolling back up. Maybe it's just me... I've been accused of being weird before.

rcjordan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 1:13 am on Jan 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

>But from my personal browsing habits, I'd prefer having a navigation menu waiting for me at the bottom of the page to either hitting a 'back-to-top' link or scrolling back up.

No, not just you... you should see the wish-list of nav tweaks I've been sending to Brett for this forum set-up.

My sites use external js to inject horizontal text nav bars just above AND below the top banner area (nav split into 2 major sections, global and local) and again at the bottom of the content area. Even though it has something of a "retro" look in design, it seems to be working great. Like you, I've also been toying with the idea of floating menues. I'll send you a stickymail with an url.

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 3:26 am on Jan 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

I squished the original scrolling menu script together with a much larger one that produced more smooth movement... coming up with a smooth scrolling, mid-sized script.

Does this look any better now?

[absak.com...]

As you can tell, I'm rather stuck on this idea...

rcjordan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 3:36 am on Jan 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

A little bit jumpy if one scrolls slowly, but very nice if someone is using pagedown/pageup. I checked it on IE5 and NS4, works the same on each. Somehow, the action seems vaguely familiar. ;)

I think the "chatter" could be minimized by reducing the contrast of yellow on green. Also, try moving the "Need Help" graphic to top and bottom of the column and getting it off the floating menu, it's too distracting. My .02

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 5:55 am on Jan 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

An added factor to consider: the jumpiness is due to processor speed. I was viewing on pretty old equipment, a 166Mhz. The faster the processor, the smoother it will look.
So, a lot depends on your target audience.

Also, I'm sure you'll notice this sooner or later, but right now the menu disappears altogether at the bottom of the page. I guess there is a CSS container that needs to be lengthened.

By the way, we've been working on a traveling menu something like this for our company site. Haven't got it moving any better than you do.

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 3:29 am on Jan 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

[rcjordan; Somehow, the action seems vaguely familiar. ;)]

I didn't use a bit of their code, actually. it was WAY to long for my taste... ;) I mashed up a couple of other scripts I found. One I've had on a zip disk for about a year, and one I hunted down on Thursday. But I did find the demonstrated potential for smooth movement inspiring!

[tedster: An added factor to consider: the jumpiness is due to processor speed.]

Yep... I just checked it here on my 200MHz PowerPC at home... not nearly as silky-smooth as it looks on the dual 450 G4 at work. But still looks better than the almost strobe-effect the first version had...

[tedster: the menu disappears altogether at the bottom of the page.]

??? Not on IE on the NT machine at work, IE or Netscape on the G4 or my home computer. What are you using (browser/platform)?

As for the "need help" graphic... I'm thinking about ditching it in every section except the store area. That's really the only area it was intended for. I don't think anyone is in desperate need of instant 'Live Help' for reading a text file.

rcjordan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 3:37 am on Jan 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

>the menu disappears altogether at the bottom of the page

The one I sent you does the same thing, but not on all pages. Now, I'm beginning to wonder if it's a sporadic nuisance glitch. If you can find it and fix it, great. It's not a biggie, though.

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 3:45 am on Jan 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

Well, I just showed the site you sent me to my BF, and I noticed the bottom half of the menu disappeared at the bottom of the page, on a page that had displayed fine yesterday. It looks like a random browser-side glitch.

I figure the bunch of text links at the bottom of our pages should render that problem functionally irrelevant anyhow.

One thing I have noticed consistently though: In IE (both Mac/Win), only the buttons appear to move. In Netscape (Mac) the navigation table seems to carry it's own chunk of background with it. Not quite as visually appealing, but the pattern still blends well. Don't know about Netscape for Windows, and I don't think that one's fixable either.

rcjordan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 3:50 am on Jan 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

> Netscape for Windows

Same thing

Will it float over fixed icons and text in the same column?

chiyo

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 4:23 am on Jan 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

works ok on my laptop IE5.1.

Only consideration is the effect of having so much code right under the body tag. No absolute valid evidence but when we implemented similar scripts in the same place we seemed to take a knock on several Se's including AV. No problem, we think, with Google though.

I dont see why spider indexers have a problem with this - without being an expert i dont know why they can't just ignore anything within script tags and still count the first visible text as the "top of the page" - but our feeling was strong enough to cause us to get rid of scripts which require placement right under the body tag on most critical pages on our sites, even though they did look good. When we couldnt do it, we used an external js file rather than embedding in pages (the one we used was js)

gmiller

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 4:50 am on Jan 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

Actually, having things fail to scroll with the page is the biggest reason I dislike frames--the problems with linking, bookmarking, and reloading don't bother me nearly as much as being unable to use the full window for the content or having bits and pieces of a single window scroll separately.

But if you really want to do that, consider using position: fixed. AFAIK, all the recent browsers either support it (rarely) or treat it as position: absolute (in which case, it's no different from ordinary scrolling CSS and table-based layouts).

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 5:06 am on Jan 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

[rcjordan: Will it float over fixed icons and text in the same column?]
I believe so... all the examples of scroling menus I've seen steam-roll right over anything in their path.

[chiyo: Only consideration is the effect of having so much code right under the body tag.]
I'd be using external .js files for it. Just switched all my existing pages over to using external .js, so I'd just add this script to the list.

[gmiller: consider using position: fixed]
I hardly know how the current scripts work :) But I'll look into that. Not in any huge rush to perfect it, so I can dig around a bit for other techniques.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 7:08 am on Jan 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> [tedster: the menu disappears altogether at the bottom of the page.]

Your new version doesn't do the disappearing act -- it looks good in both NN 4.7 and IE 5.5 on Win95.

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 6:50 pm on Jan 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

Oooh goodie.... Tedster got NN on Windows! Heh... that's the one major browser I'm missing. Glad to hear it's working well this time around. Now all I've got to do is decide whether to use it or not!

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 7:32 pm on Jan 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

I always design for NN on Windows. Once my pages make it past all those bugs, they're usually pretty good.

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 7:44 pm on Jan 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

LOL... Yeah, as if cross-browser design weren't bad enough, the two major browsers aren't even consistent with THEMSELVES once you go cross-platform. I'm working on a big revamp of my personal site, and almost decided the nifty text-change rollover I'm working on for the front page isn't worth the hassle, after reading about DHTML variances between browsers/platforms and everything else. But I'm stubborn, so I'll probably do it anyway.

rcjordan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 7:46 pm on Jan 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

>I always design for NN on Windows. Once my pages make it past all those bugs

Ditto. Nothing is more shocking to a webmaster than taking a peek at his/her creation in NN after assuming that it's an IE world.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 7:50 pm on Jan 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> DHTML variances between browsers/platforms

Yes, and the Mac/NN javascript bugs are not well documented any where that I've found. If you've got a good link...?

Your menu looks pretty good cross platform, mivox. I'd say go for it, but watch your logs like a hawk for while to see how your visitors vote.

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 8:50 pm on Jan 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

I remember the first time I saw one of my early websites on IE/Windows, when all I used building it was NN/Mac. Not to mention, the windows box was set to 256 colors, instead of the "thousands" I used at home.

I couldn't beleive the potential employer who looked at it during my interview STILL hired me... absolutely GAWDAWFUL!!! And that's before I ever touched anything dynamic save JS mouseover buttons.

I'm much more thorough now, but i think I will get NN for Windows this week, just to be a bit safer.

I'll test the moving menus out in our "basic information" section for now... if they don't seem to scare people away, I'll look at moving them to our shopping cart.

THANKS to everyone who gave feedback! It's VERY much appreciated!

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 12:32 am on Jan 30, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> windows box was set to 256 colors

LOL!

My war story -- having a client look at my web portfolio on AOL 2.0, Win NT and 256 colors. Unbelievably ugly! And I had been pitching the cross brower compatibility of my designs. Did NOT get that contract.

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 233 posted 12:42 am on Jan 30, 2001 (gmt 0)

You kinda wonder if that person ever scratched their head and wondered why the entire internet was so ugly....

Or was their choice of viewing software/color resolution a wily test?

[edit] The menus have gone live in two sections of the site... I'm leaving the shopping cart alone for now. We'll see if anything happens. [/edit]

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