Layout: Front Pages (Not the Microsoft Ones!)

started by Jb on Jun 8, 2004 — RSS Feed

Jb Jb
Posts: 2

Hey everyone!

I have been reading through a lot of this forum over the last few days, and like what I see.

I have just been given the job of improving/updating/maintaining etc our company's website, http://www.inlearning.com.au, and am having trouble with the front page.

I am wondering what you guys think is the best method of site navigation to setup when the website has to cover so many different products/programs?

E.g. In Learning sell their own products, are re-sellers for Crisp and LearnKey and each of those has numerous sub-categories and topics. How do you make sense of all this into a user-friendly, accesible, 'cool' navigation system.

At the moment, we kind of have four navigation methods, and they all seem kind of uncoordinated to me. Is a DHTML menu best? Or tabs similar to amazon.com, or just a plain 'down the left' text menu?

I'd love to know what you guys prefer as a method of navigation. And why?!

Baxter Baxter
Posts: 157

If it were me, here's what I'd do.

Create a unordered list With every main category
make nested lists for the subcategories, and nested, nested lists for the third level stuff (if necessary).

Include every stinking page you have in this nested, lengthy bulleted list.. It'll be ugly as homemade sin, but it has everything in it, in a way that makes sense to humans. It provides a basic outline for the whole site.

Now, save that unordered list as it's own file. txt, asp, html, doesn't matter. All you want in the file is the unordered list itself.

use an include to bring it into the page, and pretty it up with css and a smidge of javascript. Suckerfish and gazingus are both nice, methods. Different, but both good, depending on your requirements. A little bit of css work, and you'll have a very nice dropdown menu. You can show it all, have each sublevel drop on command, whatever you want.

Now, create a new file to make a sitemap. Bring the exact same file in as an include (again) and style it differently. Don't make it dropdown, let it all be visible at a glance, just style for looks.

At this point, you've created one file that links to everywhere on the site. As your site changes, you change the one file, and both your nav and sitemap update immediately. Plus, all of your nav is viewable to spiders, to text readers, and anyone else.

That's what I'd do, and have done.

Jb Jb
Posts: 2

Baxter,

Thanks for that! Just what I was looking for. I have tried to use the gazingus style, and it works pretty well...

Thanks for the help.  

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