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Re: drop down menus

for

From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Jul 31, 2003 7:43AM


On Thu, 31 Jul 2003, Suzanne Ankerbrand wrote:

> I have the same question concerning rollover menus. A new client is
> insisting they want them. This is a large non-profit so they should
> be concerned with accessibility.

Usability would be the most important point here. They probably aim at
usability, but they miss the goal. You might have hard time explaining
that to them. They just love their hammer, so they refuse to see anything
but nails. That is, they have a fixed mental model of how users should
behave and what they should like, and they try to meet the need that they
have assumed - basically, a need to navigate directly to third-level pages
from any page. (I know it sounds tempting, but it's really a mess to use.)

> Their point is, if the top link in the
> rollover menu links to the second level page where all the other
> links that were in the rollover are listed anyway, they've met the
> accessibility issue. The rollover will give those who can view it a
> short cut ... if not, they just jump to the second level page.

They're right, in a technical sense, and this might be the only sense they
have now. You could still try and explain that when the intended scheme
_works_, it will cause problems to people with cognitive disabilities
(too many options, too difficult conceptually, etc.). And things like
that. But the real objection is usability; this is explained in quite some
detail in my "Links Want To Be Links",
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www/links.html
but the famous Jakob Nielsen is probably an author you should cite here,
though I can't right now point at any particular articles by him on the
issue of two-level navigatoon - his message though is clearly "less
is more", see
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20000109.html

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


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