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Where I do use them I still include a plain version of the links in the NOSCRIPT tags for the joy of the JS challenged, WAP users and of course, spiders.
In tests, where all else on a page was the same but one version had subtle mouse-overs and the other had plain text links, people asked to rate the webmastery gave the site with the mouseovers a higher rating.
One strange secondary note from the same research experiments is that people also felt plain white backgrounds were cheaper or less professional than those with simple colour or backgrounds. This flies in the face of most commercial research and may be connected to the fact that my random sample had a higher than normal concentration of women over men.
Women like style statements in their web viewing as well as in their wardrobes.
Well put, BK. It jogs my memory a bit. Good, subtle effects --not razzle-dazzle-- were regarded as aiding page navigation. The article made a strong point that gimmicks (buttons with too much mouseover movement or color change, slide-out nav panels) had the opposite effect, and actually hampered surfing.
Your comments about color and background have been split out to start another thread [webmasterworld.com]
>>In the past, compatability page size was always an issue.<< BT, don't understand this factor.
Hard data? Let's face it, what would this crowd believe anyway? By the time data is collected, deciphered and published, the trend would be gone. And there are certainly trends. Is MouseOver one of them? Eventually, I think yes, but for now and the foreseeable (will you be adding spellcheck?) future, I think no.
Without my mouseovers, my visitors are left with slogging through my catalog, page by page, which they won't do. I use the MO to give them an alternative; I've gathered what I imagine they may want into more narrow categories; this is no extraordinary science. Except that when they mouseover, I use that as extra selling space to encourage them to take the chance to click. I use a combo of text with the graphic to advise them of the wonders which lie in wait there for them.
It turns out that we are also part-entertainers. And mouseovers are part of that entertainment. My visitors easily at a 50% rate, choose my mouseovers as their navigational option.
Many mouseovers glow or some such, and I can't speak for them (although I do love them); me, i use the MO for another chance to talk to my visitor with a little pop-up. They definitely bite.
If well done, it's just . . . (thinking) . . . cool.