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Should drop-down menus be the default? « Community

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Should drop-down menus be the default?

  1. I had an interesting Twitter conversation with Ian Stewart the other day about drop-down menus being the default in his theme framework (Thematic).

    Ian tweeted (is that the correct terminology?) this:

    I think I'm going to put dropdown menus in Thematic 0.9. God help me.

    I followed:

    @iandstewart Most sites don't need dropdowns & should be used on a per-design basis. I'd include the CSS, not the functionality, by default.

    His response was a great argument for the inclusion of drop-down menus:

    @justintadlock I'd been thinking that but then WordPress already has a solution for that: don't make subpages.

    Should drop-down menus be default in Hybrid?

    I'm usually against them in many designs because they simply don't fit. But, Ian has a strong argument for the inclusion of the code.

    So, I'm going to list off some pros and cons of including drop-downs. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

    Pros

    * Many people love drop-down menus. It would add value.

    * More site-wide access from every page.

    * If a user creates sub-pages, those pages will be automatically shown.

    Cons

    * Usability concerns. Drop-downs simply aren't as usable as a normal menu (especially if using a JavaScript-based solution).

    * Cross-platform compatibility. Drop-downs are great for the latest browsers, but older browsers not so much.

    * Themes already available from ThemeHybrid will need new style rules to accommodate the drop-downs.

  2. I'd like to see them by default. Wordpress has the funcionality built in so I think they should be catered for.
    It would be easy not to use them if you didn't want, a lot easier than it is now to use them if you do want.

  3. Also I'd like the dropdown menues included by default. Maybe an option to enable/disable the insertion of the needed code will be usefull...

  4. If they're made optional, like include dropdown.css, so those of us who don't use them can ignore them, then it should be okay.

  5. I would love dropdown - I use them for every site I design. But it has to be crossbrowser (or lets face it: ie5 and ie6 compatible) and not only css. I agree that if one wouldnt want it, its easy to trash the functionality. A good thing would be if one could choose between letting all pages be pages (default like now) and letting parent-pages be non-clickable ("placeholder-pages"). Many users dont click parentpages in dropdowns...

  6. I'd like to see them by default. Wordpress has the funcionality built in so I think they should be catered for.
    It would be easy not to use them if you didn't want, a lot easier than it is now to use them if you do want.

    Agreed. It's a lot easier to turn them off than turn them on, at least in the case of drop-down menus.

    Also I'd like the dropdown menues included by default. Maybe an option to enable/disable the insertion of the needed code will be usefull...

    If I do this, Superfish would probably be optional:
    http://users.tpg.com.au/j_birch/plugins/superfish

    If they're made optional, like include dropdown.css, so those of us who don't use them can ignore them, then it should be okay.

    I do plan on releasing a plugin for nav menus. This way, you can pick and choose what is shown. Mostly, I'm trying to keep design options out of the Hybrid backend though.

    That's part of the frustration with this for me. The theme shouldn't assume that a navigation menu is even being used. Not all child themes need one. Oh well, I'm sure I'll work out the details.

    But it has to be crossbrowser (or lets face it: ie5 and ie6 compatible) and not only css

    I'll never again test a theme in IE5. Most designers I know refuse this service to any clients (or charge a lot of extra money) because it's a browser that's pretty much nonexistent. The Superfish code above should handle IE6 though.

  7. That's part of the frustration with this for me. The theme shouldn't assume that a navigation menu is even being used. Not all child themes need one. Oh well, I'm sure I'll work out the details.

    This is verymuchtrue. Changing my set up to 'display:none' was a fast and easy way to kill the parts I wasn't using (pagenav yes, catnav no) at least.

    Anyhow, if it was a theme setting, like the pullquotes JS, and if that wouldn't make for too much overhead, that may work.

  8. The JavaScript would definitely be optional. If there's one thing I hate doing, it is adding JS that will load on every page of a site. JS use should be left up to the user.

    My main concern right now is (assuming I add drop-down menus) is making a smooth transition for users of child themes already available here. In some child themes, the sub-menus would not be shown. In others, it'd break the layout.

  9. I've pretty much finished coding the drop-down menus in the best way I can think, but they can still potentially break a layout here or there.

    drop-downs.css

    This would be a new CSS file that anyone could import into their custom child theme to take care of most of the dirty work with both the default page menu and category menu (if used).

    It's only an extra 1kb (uncompressed) at the moment.

    Most themes would need an additional style rule or two to make it fit in with the design.

    How many levels?

    We discussed this for the category menu when I was developing Hybrid News. The final decision was to go with four. I'm just thinking anything beyond four gets messy.

    Horizontal list
    	Vertical drop-down
    		Vertical drop-down
    			Vertical drop-down

    JavaScript

    JavaScript files will be completely optional and all based on jQuery. However, for IE6 compatibility, JS must be used.

    Superfish will be included:
    http://users.tpg.com.au/j_birch/plugins/superfish

    The options would be:

    * Include the Superfish JavaScript.
    * Include the hoverIntent JavaScript.
    * Include the Supersubs JavaScript.
    * Include the bgiframe JavaScript.

    hoverIntent, Supersubs, and bgiframe are additional plugins that extend Superfish.

  10. Personally I really dislike drop downs, at least the typical vertical drop downs.
    A horizontal navbar 'dropdown' like StormRider did on savvyhealth... is much better.

  11. @PegasusTeam
    I too am not a great fan of drop down menus (as they usually obscure content) but I can understand their uses and popularity.

    I searched around for quite a while for a suitable horizontal menu that would allow me to achieve a similar result to that found at http://joomlapanel.com/ - in the end deciding on Superfish.

    As Justin is going to include Superfish, perhaps he could put together an option for a horizontal menu - loaded through style_logic?

  12. I'm not a fan of drop-down menus either, but there seems to be a demand for them.

    I could definitely code up a horizontal menu as well.

  13. Also, as a sidenote to this discussion, WP 2.8 allows us to add JavaScript to the footer. I'm already using this with my dev version of Hybrid. It's much better for page loading.

  14. I definitely vote for the horizontal dropdowns.

  15. Cool. I'm having a little trouble with them right now, but I'll have horizontal drop-downs coded before 0.5 is released.

  16. You da man.

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