I'm working on a couple of Web applications. They all require menus, which
will be vertically on the left side. How should they appear?
I did an application once where there were a number of menus, all with sub
menus. Only one menu was open at a time. Clicking on another one would
close the first one and expose the second one. (This used frames.) I wanted
to focus the user's attention on the task at hand. Example:
[Then click on Menu 3]
There are some problems with this. One is that things move. After you click
on MENU 3 above and the page is redisplayed, MENU 3 is no longer under the
mouse pointer. Another problem is that it makes exploring the menu choices
hard -- you can only see one set of submenus at a time.
We didn't do enough testing to get feedback on this, and I'm faced with a
similar situation. In this case, the client wants to use DHTML, so we might
not even need to redisplay the page in order to open and close menus.
That's a plus.
On the other hand, if the menu choices are always displayed you always know
what the choices are, and they don't jump around. Unfortunately, if the
list is long, or the screen is short, they won't all show, and some will be
lost to the user, maybe forever. I'm leaning toward this, and will do some
testing soon, but wonder if anyone's had any experience with these two
methods (or any others).
thanks -- hs
Hal Shubin, Interaction Design, Inc.
617 489 6595 voice, 617 489 7395 fax