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Menu's for Web Sites


I want to design some menus for websites with submenus. I'd like to learn
the code myself and I was wondering a good place to pick up on some tips on
how to design them.

Also, is there a decent program out there that does it all for you at a good

Jul 23 '05 #1
2 1303
Brian wrote:
I want to design some menus for websites with submenus. I'd like to
learn the code myself and I was wondering a good place to pick
up on some tips on how to design them.
The FAQ for this newsgroup lists many resources related to javascript
and browsers scripting, some of which include advice on script design.
But for specific advice it would be a good idea to state where you are
starting from. If you have never created DHTML scripts then a menu
system would be an ambitious place to start (though not necessarily a
bad target for a beginner).

One of the biggest design issues relating to browser scripting in
general, and menus in particular, is what happens when the script fails.
Because fail they will.

If site navigation hangs on the functionality of an actively scripted
menu and that script fails then the consequences are disastrous. The
potential to navigate the web site is removed and visitors finding
themselves in that position will see little choice but go elsewhere.
(Coincidentally, search engine robots don't tend to execute javascript
so their perception may also be that there is nowhere beyond the
homepage to navigate to. A conclusion that tends not to result in an
accurate search engine ranking for the site)

Mostly when a menu system is designed in such a way as to render
navigation dependent on successful execution of a script that dependency
follows directly from the location of the data that defines the menu
contents. A common (and unwise) design pattern would define the data
(mostly URLs, link text and menu structure information) in javascript
structures of various sorts. So when the script fails the data becomes
inaccessible, and there is no hope of using it for navigation.

Another approach to menu design would define the data in the HTML. A
nested structure of UL elements containing links is quite well suited to
describing a menu structure. The URLs and accompanying text are
obviously defined by the links (that is pretty much all that a link is)
while the nested UL elements lend themselves to describing the sort of
hierarchical relationship that defines a menu (its submenus, and even
their sub menus).

The script would then act by manipulating the elements defined in the
HTML. Changing their display properties, moving/positioning them, adding
event handlers to achieve the required interaction and so on.

Given a suitable browser (that's any modern dynamic visual browser) a
menu based on the manipulation of HTML can be indistinguishable from a
menu for which the data was defined in javascript structures. The big
difference is in how they fail. The design based on the manipulation of
HTML will tend to fail leaving the nested ULs of links in the HTML page,
where they remain available as a means of navigation. So that is a DHTML
menu for everyone who can take advantage of it, and a viable alternative
for anyone who cannot.

So I would recommend that if you want to peruse techniques that can be
employed in a DHTML menu, you should be looking into how you go about
manipulating HTML content in a web browser with scripts.

Other design issues include usability and accessibility.
Also, is there a decent program out there that does it all for
you at a good price?

"decent program" and "good price" are very subjective criteria. If
"decent program" is judged on the quality of menu code created (rather
than, say, the quality of the GUI) then you probably will not find one.

Jul 23 '05 #2

"Brian" <br*************@NOyahoo.com> wrote in message

I want to design some menus for websites with submenus. I'd like to learn
the code myself and I was wondering a good place to pick up on some tips on how to design them.

Also, is there a decent program out there that does it all for you at a good price?


DHTML menu
Jul 23 '05 #3

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