I think people are conditioned to see menus on the left. People who read left to right, anyway. Just my opinion.
I think it's better to put the nav on the right for SEO purposes as the main content text then appears towards the top of the page/html.
Another benefit for wide pages that might get printed is that the nav gets cut off instead of the page content. It's very annoying to try to print something that goes wider than about 600 that has the nav on the left. The content gets cutoff and you're left with the nav.
I agree that it's generally better on the left in terms of readability, so I guess it really depends on your objectives. There are tradeoffs that need to be addressed before finalizing the design.
At the moment I am putting the products/services navigation on the left, corporate navigation (e.g. about us) at the top and text navigation in a footer file at the bottom of the page.
|I think it's better to put the nav on the right for SEO purposes as the main content text then appears towards the top of the page/html. |
Only if you are stuck with a 'tables based design'.
If you build the site with css, you can keep the navigation system where you want it to be.
|Only if you are stuck with a 'tables based design' |
I've never used css for more than formatting text and maybe drawing a thin box around it. I must admit, that seems like a very good css use, doesn't it!
Is there a good place to go for examples of this?
I've dabbled with this a little and used the following sites for reference:
You can then use "printer friendly" pages for your ecommerce site using the same pages with a different stylesheet.
I found it quite difficult to get to grips with the css positioning and all the different "hacks" needed for the various browsers, but it was quite good fun learning.
However the end result was that I could a have a left and right column on a page but have all the relevant body text at the top of the source code. Nice and easy for the robots.
Hope this helps a little.
You can put the navigation and content where ever you like and position it using CSS.
SEO and content optimisation is a major benefit of using CSS for projects such as the one you described.
you can, of course, also use a combination of both tables and css for positioning. it's not either/or. ease yerself in gently!
As for left and right menu's, why not provide alternative CSS? even let users pick which ever side is most comfortable, store that in a cookie or something. For some things I like left, for others, right. Just whatever fits best on a particular page. Mine are mostly to the right, works well if you put good space around them.
print-friendly versions of pages are a great idea, whether you use CSS or Table-based layout, and fairly easy to code up, too.
finally, I suspect prominence in body text is less important than many folks imagine. stuff way down some of my big pages turns up unexpectedly in google refers. Google likes content. Don't we all.
Don't forget the venerable "table trick" that lets you put a left navbar below the content in the HTML. (If you don't want to use CSS and if you prefer left navigation.)
I don't think that table trick works on Mac IE browsers :(