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web design trends and javascript menus

trends on site creation

   
3:48 am on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



as a web designer, are javascript-based (drop down) menus or navigation still IN? What would be a better alternative?

Considering design, usability, linkability or googlability ... i mean search bot friendly.

8:18 am on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



Don't worry about what's "in" - think about what would make most sense to your particular Web site.

Is a DHTML the right answer, or is an unordered list better? Maybe just a few category links in the navigation, and sub links on the category pages?

It completely depends on the situation, the content, and the audience. Does your menu make sense? Is it intuitive?

7:02 pm on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Search engines cannot follow some (most?) types of Javascript links, so I avoid those.
7:08 pm on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



>>Don't worry about what's "in"

That should be encased in gold and become required knowledge for anyone thinking of building a website.

Nick

7:11 pm on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



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Nick

8:24 pm on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Speaking just as a user, pull-down menus were *never* in. They were almost always gee-whiz "because I can" features that reduced usability. As a user, I often clicked on a what I thought was a link, only to have lag kick in and then see, just as the page disappeared, that it was a pull-down menu. Instead of being able to just *see* what is available on a page I have to mouse all over the place to find what is available, etc. They are just bad design overall. There are only a very few places where they are appropriate, usually in filling out forms where it is necessary to constrain the user's choices (selecting a state from a list of postal addresses, for example).
6:40 am on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



quick question, i use a drop down menu as a quick search. i have a pretty small site (only about 30 pages) stuck the drop down in the footer for a quick way to get around. some of my pages have got enough text on them that i thought it would be irritating to have to scroll back up. any thougts on whether this is actually a good idea or not. keep in mind that the site will not really expand by too many more pages. thanks in advance
6:59 am on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



That could be a nice usability enhancement. Why not create a simple query string for the URLs in the bottom menu so you can tell from your server logs how much use that menu is getting?

Just adding ?s=b to the end of the URL would let you pick out those clicks from the regular menu clicks. And then you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether to go forward with that feature or not.

7:29 am on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



just to clarify, if i made my code look like this:

<select style="background-color: #99CCFF;" name="url" onChange="loadPage(this)" class="boxform">
<option selected>Choose a Destination</option>
<option value="index.htm?s=b">Home</option>

(please note the bolding)
as opposed to this:

just to clarify, if i made my code look like this:

<select style="background-color: #99CCFF;" name="url" onChange="loadPage(this)" class="boxform">
<option selected>Choose a Destination</option>
<option value="index.htm">Home</option>

would allow me to go check out if these pages have been checked. do i have to add any additional code or anything. will a linux server get all this? you may have to explain this to me like i'm a child becuase i'm relatively new to a lot of this. (if you have the time). thanks

7:48 am on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



That's it exactly. Then your server logs will show that index.html?s=b was called so you can pull out how many?s=b query strings are in there.

The query string doesn't actually serve any other function in this case - it's sort of a dummy string, just to identify which link was clicked. So you don't need to add any other code - just change the URLs exactly as you illustrated.

I do this a LOT - for instance, to check on the clickthroughs for different email campaigns. Some log analysis packages even create a nice query string report, which simplifies pulling out the required data from the logs.

<added>
If you don't have this function in your stats package, just remember that the query string can also end up in the referer as well, if someone clicks once and then uses a dropdown on the destination page. So in analyzing your logs, you want to zero in on the intial GET for the html document only, and not end up counting the referer strings as well, by accident.
</added>

[edited by: tedster at 7:56 am (utc) on Aug. 5, 2003]

7:52 am on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



that's a great tip. thanks for the heads up on it. i'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of me in the future.
7:26 am on Aug 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Please remember that i was referring to the drop down menu like the one in dyanmic drive DHTML sort of thing. For <select> i think they are usable.
 

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