Usability and Fly-Out Menus

In Usability and Fly-Out Menus D. Keith Robinson writes about the (lack of) usability of most implementations of fly-out (a.k.a. dropdown or pulldown) menus on websites.

My opinion? In nearly all cases, fly-out menus add unneccesary complexity and code to a site. They can also make a site very inaccessible and hard to use. Many implementations are fragile. What happens when JavaScript is off? When you increase or decrease text size? When your client uses a CMS to enter more text than fits in the menu? What about people who don't use a mouse or have reduced hand-eye coordination? How are search engine robots going to find their way around the site?

Think very carefully before you decide to use fly-outs, and consider the consequences. And make sure your only reason for using them isn't "It looks cool.".

Posted on March 28, 2004 in Accessibility, Usability