WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Are pop-up menus accessible?


From: Daren
Date: Apr 6, 2000 11:30PM

My own preference is to make the navigation as simple and consistent as
possible. Multiple navigation schemes tend to take up a lot of space and
distract from the content of the individual web pages. The more I work
with web pages, the more I like the minimalist approach--give the users
simple interfaces that encourage specific interactions. My favorite
example of a good navigation scheme is the top navigation bar at
Apple.com. It certainly could be improved upon in several ways, but it
is simple, consistent, and doesn't overload the user with a myriad of
navigational choices. Notice that the main tabs are limited to 7
options, while the submenus under each tab rarely include more than 9
options. This stays within the 7 +/-2 rule suggested by memory
research. While pop-up menus are great for working with computer
programs (they sure beat typing in the old Dos commands!), their use as
a web navigation tool leaves much to be desired. There is too much hide
and seek in order for new users to find what they need. The menus also
can cover up page content that you might want to see in order to make a
selection decision. In addition, experienced users don't want to have to
click through multiple menu levels to get to the information they use
the most often. Consequently, the best navigation scheme allows people
to have simple, quick access to whatever gets used the most. Simple,
single navigation menus may not be sexy, but I think they're the best.