Selteco Menu Maker

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Successful navigation - how to design efficient Web menu.

by Robert Carter

When you go to a Web site looking for a specific review or particular product, the last thing you want to do is to waste your time. If the item isn't easy to locate, you can shop elsewhere in seconds. Why would you tackle the process of buying a compact disc at Buy.com when you could visit Amazon.com just as easily? The truth is, you wouldn't, and neither would any consumer. While Buy.com may offer the item for a cheaper price, Amazon.com may make it easier for you to locate the item and purchase it.

With Selteco Menu Maker you can easily provide easy navigation for your visitors. Pull-down menu bar offers an overview of entire site without moving out of the home page. And each page can be reached quickly with a single mouse click.

However there are few tips how to make your visitor happy.

Home
First of all always provide Home link in your menu. Maybe you are familiar with your site, but your visitor is certainly not. A "Home" link is an emergency exit from a dead end, and helps to start from the beginning instead of leaving your site.

Cross browser compatibility
A major mistake is to assume that every visitor has the latest version, java, flash enabled browser. The truth is that sometimes even IE 5.5 users disable javascript and cookies, what is required by security policy of their company. With Selteco Menu Maker it's important to design the Web site also for users without javascript capability. Such users will not see the pull down menus, only the top bar links will be available. The best practice is to provide sublinks not only in the submenus, but also on the pages available from top bar links. There's also another disadvantage, if you don't provide this alternative way to reach submenu pages - if your don't include the links, the search engines will not be able to index most of your pages. In fact the search bot will never figure out how to pull down the menu to browse the next page, it has to relay only on html code. A good example is Selteco Web site. Click on any of the top bar links, you will go to a page with all submenu links.

Speed
It is amazing how many designers don't understand basic laws of internet physics. The Web site browsed from the hard disk, or from your own ISP server seems to be very fast, but when viewed from other locations may appear to be very slow. The cause can be anything, but in most cases problems are caused by oversized files, that need to be downloaded - html code, pictures, and of course java scripts. Unlike pictures, scripts included using the <script> syntax must be downloaded entirely, before the page even starts displaying. Thus it's so important to minimize the size of all java scripts accompanying your html page. I have seen many sites with java script menus bigger than 40kB or even 100kB when added all necessary libraries. You have to wait ages to see the page. Selteco Menu Maker creates very nice and slim javascript code, rarely exceeding 10kB in size and does not need any extra libraries to be included.


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