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Three-level navigation - is there a better way?

   
8:55 pm on Jul 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



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 Jul 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



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 Jul 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whoisgregg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



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 Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



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 Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



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 Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



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 Jul 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whoisgregg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



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.