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Re: Pulldown Menu Bars...


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Jan 13, 2003 9:49PM

On Mon, 13 Jan 2003, MacKay, Graham (JUS) wrote:

> Does anyone have any experience with making a pulldown menu/navigation bar?
> I have a site which uses them, but does so with JavaScript. I am looking
> for a pure HTML solution...

There is none. The HTML <select> element is just for a selection from some
alternatives so that data corresponding to the selection is sent to
server-side processing, perhaps to be intervened with client-side
processing. There is no way you could specify the actual processing, on
either side, in HTML, pure or impure.

The JavaScript dependency can be solved by using a server-side fallback,
at the cost of some overhead.

But several essential problems would still remain. For example, since the
entries aren't really links, the visited entries will not be different
from unvisited, and such distinctions are often an important visual clue
to the user. Browsers that are capable of creating, say, an alphabetic
list of all links on a page will miss those entries, since they aren't
really links. And so on.

Links Want To Be Links. Selecting from a set of alternatives for browsing
works best when it's simply a list of links. If you think there's not
enough "room" for it, then the odds are that it shouldn't be there at all.
After all, it seems that many authors who work to improve accessibility
find themselves working with the problems caused by large "navigational
menus" or even "navigational areas" that are put on each and every page.
They try to find ways to help people skip over them, to omit them in
printed copies, to make them work without techniques like JavaScript,

I would say that the best approach is stop creating the problem in
the first place. Design a page that works well for navigation and that
exists for the sole purpose of navigation or, for small sites, put the
well-designed navigation (list of links) onto the main page. Link to that
page from each subpage.

There's a rather detailed discussion of the points above in my

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

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