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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Does this look any better now?
As you can tell, I'm rather stuck on this idea...
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
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).
[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.
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.
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!
Or was their choice of viewing software/color resolution a wily test?
 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]