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Three-level navigation - is there a better way?

     
8:55 pm on Jul 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I am the webmaster for a non-profit organization. The website currently has an expanding nav menu done with JS. The menu items expand only once (to a second level).

The organization wants to change the nav so it goes to a third level. I've found scripts that will do that, but I've seen a couple of comments that went something like "that's [multi-level navigation] old school" and "people are still using multilevel drop down menus?"

Opinions, please on why or why not I should consider multi-level menus and what the alternatives are.

8:16 pm on July 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I thought I'd bring this to the top again and hope for some helpful responses. Perhaps this is not the most appropriate forum?
5:00 pm on July 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi myrrh! I'm sure that the good folks in the Accessibility and Usability forum can do a good job of addressing this matter. :) We tend to stay focused on technical concerns in the Javascript forum. ;)

Personally, I think that some particularly complex sites can do well with multi-tier navigation. The main concern to me is making sure that javascript-disabled users (and therefore search engine spiders) can still find the navigation elements.

2:26 am on July 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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also note that "horizontal" dropdown/flyout menus can be extremely difficult and frustrating to use, even by an "able" user because of the narrow band in which to move the mouse.
8:07 pm on July 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The main concern to me is making sure that javascript-disabled users (and therefore search engine spiders) can still find the navigation elements.

Is it possible that even though the nav menu is done with JS that the SE spiders can follow the links? If I View > Source, I can see the URLs not embedded in any script. They are in an <ol>.

8:30 pm on July 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think there's a big decrease in ease of use going from one-level hover navigation to two-level hover navigation. Its really annoying when the menu disappears because you moved your mouse diagonally over a bit of page that isn't in the menu.

Perhaps go with a Mega Drop-down menu [useit.com] instead?

12:51 pm on July 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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the URLs not embedded in any script. They are in an <ol>.

Then you should be good. Some (particularly older) javascripts for multi-level dropdowns store URL data in javascript arrays instead of HTML markup. That's the thing to look out for.