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From "Jonathan M. Hollin" <netmas...@digital-word.com>
Subject RE: mod_perl_site [design discussion]
Date Thu, 20 Dec 2001 18:05:20 GMT
Thomas,

:: I'd also prefer the navbar on the lefthand side.

Navigation is critical to the whole site, I'm sure you'll agree.  When I
design a website I consider the BIG sites (amazon, yahoo, imdb, etc, etc)
and learn from them.  They have all evolved their useability criteria over
the years based on user testing, public feedback and log analysis.  We
should all take advantage of the experience and knowledge they've paid for.

I would suggest that the primary menu occupies an area at the top-left of
the screen, the breadcrumb trail be sited as close to the top of the
document as possible and an additional panel of links at the bottom of each
page.

Why?

1) Today, most users expect to see navigation in the upper left of the
screen - don't disorientate them.
2) The top of the document is the most natural location for the breadcrumb
trail (read any of Neilson's articles about muscle memory and hot edges to
appreciate why).
3)  Users usually finish reading a page at the bottom, so primary links
there are more than just a convenience.

I hate to keep on with the shameless plugs but, again, look at
http://wypug.pm.org/.  Also look at amazon.com, yahoo.com, and so on.

:: I don't like the idea of using HTML tables to structure a site.
:: Tables are
:: good to present tabular data, but (IMO) shouldn't be used for
:: page layout.

I still argue that tables offer the most control over positioning.  However,
I have NOT considered textual browsers such as Lynx.  Does Lynx ignore
tables?  Is Lynx an issue?  I've never even seen it in my web logs.

:: I know that a lot of sites are doing this, but this isn't a reason to do
:: it, too (cf Microsoft).

This is where I disagree.  "A lot of sites are doing this" - for a reason.
Learn from their mistakes/research/testing...  don't start over.

:: In my initial submission I used fixed widths for the left navbar, and a
:: percentual value for the content box. The only problem was when text
:: inside a <pre> tag was bigger then the browser window (but I think that
:: would happen too if you use tables)

As far as I'm aware you will never get around this.  "<pre> ... </pre>"
tells the browser that the content between the tags is pre-formatted and
that the browser should therefore not impose any additional formatting.
This is correct behaviour and totally appropriate.

:: BTW, one of the big advantages of CSS is that you can switch
:: them off, and
:: that sites using CSS are usable with non-graphic browser (lynx, etc)

Granted.

:: Some new comments:
:: I think that the background color of the breadcrumb trail (never knew it
:: was called that, BTW) and the Table of Contents can be done better using
:: CSS.

I agree.  I don't oppose using CSS, that's not my argument.  I too use CSS
for font control, colours, etc.

Jonathan M. Hollin - WYPUG Co-ordinator
West Yorkshire Perl User Group
http://wypug.pm.org/


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