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  1. #1
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    Top menu V. Side Menu

    which is better and why?
    A site with its name at the top and a simple menu directly underneath it.

    or

    A site with its name at the top and a navigation menu at the left hand side?

    scroots
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  • #2
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    A site where you can choose
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

  • #3
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    brothercake, i understand your point, but the first page of a site with a choice like that would confuse the non techie people i am desiging it for.

    scroots
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  • #4
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    i don't think one is better than the other. it depends on the design. but if the menu gets very long than it's a pain to scroll down to get the items, in which case the top menu would definitely be better. come to think of it, the top menu is probably better anyway...

    or why don't u try a vertical but in-the-middle menu? like www.hollins.edu has got.
    Last edited by ASAAKI; 04-16-2003 at 08:17 PM.
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  • #5
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    ASAAKI nice comprimise but it won't suit the style.

    scroots
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  • #6
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    Pros & cons

    Both styles have their advantages and disadvantages; a horizontal top menu is viewed earlier and uses little window space, but there's only room for a limited number of menu choices.
    A vertical side menu is somewhat less obvious and takes up valuable window width, but has room for much more choices, even within the confines of a one window height.
    It's true that a vertical menu becoming too long makes scrolling necessary, but vertical scrolling is generally fairly accepted whereas horizontal scrolling is a definite no-no in my book.
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  • #7
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    i dislike horizontal scrolling as well, but i was thinking more of horizontal menus with popunder submenus. so if u can categorize many links under subs...i think that's handier than left menus and good use of space.
    'If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.'

  • #8
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    <2 pence worth>
    I prefer to use a top menu for general site navigation, and a dynamically-populated side menu for page-specific options.
    </2 pence worth>

  • #9
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    Dynamics & combinations

    @ASAAKI,

    dynamic menus is one - elegant! - solution for the horizontal menu space problem and a good solution for multi-level navigation; drawback is not being able to keep the sub-level(s) under a certain main level in view, something accomplished easily with a vertical menu. Possible way out would be a breadcrumb trail.

    @Spudhead,

    combining the two opens up a myriad of options for an intricate menu structure! As long as visitors can keep track of where the h... they are...
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  • #10
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    In terms of accessibility: A top or bottom menu will be less problem for screen readers.
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  • #11
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    True, but...

    I guess you're right; they have to be text links then, or images with good alt texts, or else the menu will read like:

    ... Image! ... Image! ... Image! ... etc.
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  • #12
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    Originally posted by Catman
    In terms of accessibility: A top or bottom menu will be less problem for screen readers.
    You need a "skip" link either way - if navigation is at the top, then it skips past that to the content; but if content is first then it skips past that to navigation

    What I've been doing lately is ordering the HTML as content then navigation, but using CSS to arrange the navigation at the top.
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

  • #13
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    Originally posted by brothercake
    What I've been doing lately is ordering the HTML as content then navigation, but using CSS to arrange the navigation at the top.
    I do that myself -- and I've been playing around with letting the visitor set menu placement (top, right, bottom, left). But you're right -- with any placement, some sort of skip mechanism is needed.
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  • #14
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    Originally posted by Catman
    I do that myself -- and I've been playing around with letting the visitor set menu placement (top, right, bottom, left).
    Good stuff; been meaning to have a go at that - you got anything working?
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

  • #15
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    Here's my current version of visitor-controlled menu placement: English 313 When you activate the preferences link, you'll be able to change menu placement (and a few other things which are mostly for show).

    The contents should resize to fit your favorite window size.

    Because of an IE 6 bug with parent.location, you apply changes by reloading the page, and that causes a problem for Mozilla and Netscape (you're taken back to the welcome page) -- but I'm planning to fix that.

    Opera isn't too fond of the page at the moment, but I'm working on that problem as well.
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