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Scrapping drop-down menus for better options

From: Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques

Video: Scrapping drop-down menus for better options

In the previous movie we introduced a drop-down menu to the site and we also made it accessible. As you can see, we now have a drop-down item that we can access with the mouse and you can access it with your keyboard. If we tab through the items, we can open the drop-down menu and access each of these items. But I also said that I personally don't think that drop-down menus are a good idea and I'll explain to you why. Drop-down menus, though they look pretty, are actually quite inaccessible, even if you have the access of a mouse or a keyboard and the drop-down menu works for keyboard, because you can't see the contents and more importantly drop-down menus tend to lead you to more information about something.

Scrapping drop-down menus for better options

In the previous movie we introduced a drop-down menu to the site and we also made it accessible. As you can see, we now have a drop-down item that we can access with the mouse and you can access it with your keyboard. If we tab through the items, we can open the drop-down menu and access each of these items. But I also said that I personally don't think that drop-down menus are a good idea and I'll explain to you why. Drop-down menus, though they look pretty, are actually quite inaccessible, even if you have the access of a mouse or a keyboard and the drop-down menu works for keyboard, because you can't see the contents and more importantly drop-down menus tend to lead you to more information about something.

Ideally, if you want to create a drop- down menu, you should really be thinking about doing something else instead, and I'll show you what I mean. This is a website we created for a South Asian wedding company called Sapna in Toronto. They had a very interesting menu design that made it impossible for us to create a drop-down menu. As you can see, these menu items are staggered, so a drop-down menu would look rather weird. They also didn't want a drop-down menu that would cover any of their content. So what we did instead was create landing pages for the sections that would have drop-down menus.

For example, rather than having a drop- down menu under Services that would then display the different services, when you click on the Services button, you get to the Services landing page and the Services landing page has two sections. It has the main section that gives you a synopsis of each of the different services. There are four services in this case with a short breakdown of what it is, with a title, a short description, and then a button to see more. In addition, we added a list of services in the sidebar, and this addresses the two main ways of dealing with the drop-down issue.

Rather than creating a drop-down menu, you should create a landing page that showcases all the options that you would've put under the drop menu in more detail, and then, if you wish to always display the contents that would have been in the drop-down menu, you should put it somewhere, for instance, in the sidebar, so that those menu items are always available. By doing that you're making those items available at all times. So no one needs to know that there may or may not be more items under a drop-down menu. It's always there and you can see it. But more importantly, because of the way the web works now, landing pages are far more valuable than drop-down menus.

If someone is searching for services online and they land on a single page that lists out all the services in one place and then you can click for more information, they are far more likely to get there than if they landed on the front page of a site and then had to find a drop-down menu, and then find the item they're looking for. This concept is based on the idea that people don't land on your front page, they land where they're most likely to find the information they're looking for, and therefore this type of landing page works exceptionally well. Just to give you another example of how you can implement this landing page idea, in addition to the Services page that had the drop-down menu with the four services items, we also initially have a drop-down menu for the About page, because this company has several different pages listed under About.

So rather than creating one About page, and then a bunch of other pages that were only accessible through the drop- down, we made a landing page for About, and at the bottom of it we have two additional pages you can get to through navigation. So when you're thinking of making a drop-down menu, think about this. Is there a better way of doing it if I instead create a landing page that directs the people to those sub pages? And can I add those drop-down menu items to my sidebar? You'll remember from earlier in the course that I showed you how easy it is to create new sidebar menus in your sidebar.

So why not, instead of putting your drop-down menu here, simply add the drop-down menu items to your sidebar to make them always accessible for everyone.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques
Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques

30 video lessons · 10872 viewers

Morten Rand-Hendriksen
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 59s
  2. 8m 16s
    1. Accessibility and SEO: A primer
      4m 58s
    2. Understanding the benefits of accessibility and SEO
      3m 18s
  3. 11m 26s
    1. Experiencing an inaccessible web site
      6m 4s
    2. Experiencing an accessible web site
      5m 22s
  4. 16m 28s
    1. Evaluating screen readers for Windows and Mac
      5m 56s
    2. Installing browser development tools
      4m 8s
    3. Pretending to be a screen reader
      6m 24s
  5. 7m 40s
    1. Installing SEO tools
      2m 30s
    2. Understanding how search engines search a page
      2m 45s
    3. Comparing sites that are SEO-friendly with ones that are SEO-unfriendly
      2m 25s
  6. 44m 6s
    1. Defining a language for a page
      5m 4s
    2. Defining meta headers for a page
      6m 10s
    3. Creating better semantic markup with HTML5
      3m 13s
    4. Using and hiding section headings
      4m 56s
    5. Creating content hierarchies with heading tags
      5m 29s
    6. Emphasizing content in paragraphs
      5m 36s
    7. Making accessible block quotes
      3m 22s
    8. Using some new HTML5 tags
      4m 47s
    9. Using ordered and unordered lists
      5m 29s
  7. 22m 17s
    1. Marking up links properly
      6m 48s
    2. Marking up images
      7m 23s
    3. Creating a proper image header with CSS
      8m 6s
  8. 32m 43s
    1. Creating an accessible menu with an unordered list
      6m 16s
    2. Creating and hiding nav headings and skip navigation links
      6m 59s
    3. Giving navigation links proper focus with style
      4m 39s
    4. Creating an accessible drop-down menu
      10m 46s
    5. Scrapping drop-down menus for better options
      4m 3s
  9. 3m 44s
    1. Next steps
      3m 44s

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