[thelist] CSS-Reliant Dropdown Menu's - What are the downsides?

Joshua Olson joshua at waetech.com
Sat Feb 2 10:47:07 CST 2008

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jon Hughes
> Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2008 11:01 AM
> I recall seeing a discussion (though I don't think it was on thelist) 
> regarding why CSS menu's are bad for usability.
> The two reasons that I recall are:
> 1) Initiates onmouseover (:hover) and not onmousedown
> 2) List 'closes' when you go even 1px off, whereas native 
> dropdowns use a delay to combat that.
> Can anyone think of anything else that is wrong with using CSS 
> dropdowns, as apposed to (form-based dropdowns (<select><option>))


I'm adding my thoughts here: take em or leave em.

Reason #1 is a valid point. 

Reason #2 can be combatted with a bit of intelligent CSS'ing to give a
buffer of 5 to 10 pixels.  Think along the lines of adding transparent
borders and adjusting margins so that everything still looks the same, but
doesn't trigger the mouse out event exactly on the edge of the sub-menus.

Form-based menus: avoid them unless you have alternate browsing options,
since search engines cannot navigate through them and properly index your
site.  Very little is as bad for a site as making a search engine think your
site is only one page.  :-)


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