Obsessed by footers

When hack-and-slash table designers meet web standards, one of the first things they will complain about (and loudly, too) is web page footers.

In a CSS-based layout, incomplete browser support prevents having a footer that sits at the bottom of the browser window when the page is shorter than the window is tall, and at the bottom of the page when there is enough content for the page to scroll vertically.

Not even using a minimal table layout will help, since declaring a proper Doctype makes most modern browsers respect that there is no height attribute for <table>. I just checked the recommendations for both HTML 4.01 and HTML 3.2, and height is not a supported attribute for <table> in either of them.

Personally I don’t see this as a problem, but it is one of those things that will make some people resist learning web standards. So I guess if you really, absolutely must have that kind of footer, and using JavaScript to achieve the effect won’t keep you awake at night, the article Exploring Footers at A List Apart will make you happy.

I find it easier to just let the footer go with the flow and end up wherever the amount of content makes it go, instead of trying to force a layout.

There’s another footer-related article at Digital Web Magazine. In More Than Just a Footer, Jeff Lash writes about how page footers can be used in new ways to add value for the user. He brings up some interesting examples. Some of them do seem useful, but to me they also add a bit of clutter to the page. Not necessarily too much clutter though, so I’ll have these ideas in mind when I start working on an upcoming project.

Posted on February 17, 2004 in Web General

Comments

  1. February 17, 2004 by David House

    I can’t see navigation at the bottom of the page being effective, simply for the reason that it’s non-standard. Effective navigation is surely based on standards that have evolved, which dictate navigation at the top or on the left. I don’t think having it at the bottom would catch on.

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