Good usage of drop-downs

05 March 2005   0 comments   Web development

http://cms.lufthansa.com/pre/de/en/homepage_Noframes/0,4449,0-0-605242,00.html#

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Many websites have drop-downs to assist navigation. Usually this only applies to big sites where sitemaps are necessary and where you want people to get to any part of the site from the home page in one click. Sadly I've never had the challenge to develop any web sites that are that big and diverse in content but there's a time for everything.

Anyway, the Lufthansa site manages to use drop-downs efficiently. This is accomplished with Javascripts, but sadly nothing works if you don't have Javascript disabled. When you roll your mouse over "Worldwide Sites" it shows a drop-down underneath with a looong list of options. It's good because drop-downs are usually very ugly but powerful as navigation tools.

What is not so on about this is the HTML source. It's built in true 1997 style with 242 spacer gifs!! and no respect what so ever for blind people. Look for example at this screenshot when I used Lynx and the home page uses 236 table cells!!.

If you use the web developer extension for Firefox to outline the table cells you get the second screenshot. That's going to slow down the rendering so much that the usability of the site suffers.

Anyway, I like what they did with the drop-downs so I'm not going to have a go at Lufthansa about their ridiculously long and counter-intuitive URLs.

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