Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Drop-Down Gorgeous?

Luke Wroblewski offers a nice summary of the pros and cons of dropdown menus (aka "cascading" or "fly-out" menus) in this post today. The included links are especially tasty.

I've long thought that dropdown menus get a bum rap. Early on, there were concerns about browser abilities to render them properly. Since then, the objections center more on usability issues (which Luke outlines well). I don't argue with those concerns, but I do think they are due more to poor implementation of dropdown menus than an inherent flaw in their nature.

Used and built thoughtfully (and without such shenanigans as special effects and multiple levels), dropdown menus are a powerful way to reveal a site's information structure. Even better, they provide nearly instant access to content beneath the site's surface. The recent launch of one of my projects bears this out. On the site's bulletin board, users raved about the quick paths to favorite content.


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