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CSS: Styling Navigation
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Controlling link spacing


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CSS: Styling Navigation

with James Williamson

Video: Controlling link spacing

Okay, our menu is looking pretty good, but right now, there is just no visual separation between the links themselves. If I come up to the menu, and I kind of hover over these links, sometimes it's not quite obvious which one I'm hovering over because there's just no separation between them. So in this exercise, we're going to take a look at one of the ways that we can add some visual separation. So, I'm going to go back in my code editor, and I'm working with the vertical.htm file found in the 03_05 directory. And you can see once again I've sort of scrolled down to our vertical menu styles.
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  1. 3m 8s
    1. Welcome
      42s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      1m 12s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 14s
  2. 35m 25s
    1. Organizing menus with lists
      4m 26s
    2. Ensuring accessibility
      9m 3s
    3. Using the nav element
      7m 30s
    4. Creating block-level links
      3m 8s
    5. Lab: Structuring navigation
      4m 11s
    6. Solution: Structuring navigation
      7m 7s
  3. 48m 42s
    1. Exploring link style considerations
      9m 2s
    2. Using global link styles
      9m 56s
    3. Styling link states
      10m 57s
    4. Indicating external links
      10m 4s
    5. Styling image links
      8m 43s
  4. 52m 5s
    1. Stripping default list styling
      4m 34s
    2. Defining link dimensions
      6m 0s
    3. Setting link styling
      3m 36s
    4. Aligning links vertically
      4m 11s
    5. Controlling link spacing
      2m 30s
    6. Styling menus with borders
      2m 32s
    7. Creating rollovers
      4m 45s
    8. Restricting link styling
      3m 31s
    9. Lab: Creating a vertical menu
      11m 44s
    10. Solution: Creating a vertical menu
      8m 42s
  5. 54m 58s
    1. Stripping list styling
      3m 35s
    2. Displaying links horizontally
      6m 14s
    3. Clearing floats
      6m 12s
    4. Controlling link sizing and spacing
      3m 11s
    5. Styling links
      7m 16s
    6. Creating rollovers
      5m 52s
    7. Indicating current pages
      4m 43s
    8. Controlling cursor states
      2m 46s
    9. Lab: Creating horizontal menus
      6m 45s
    10. Solution: Creating horizontal menus
      8m 24s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. Overview of dropdown menus
      1m 17s
    2. Structuring submenus
      5m 56s
    3. Styling submenus
      6m 4s
    4. Creating submenu rollovers
      3m 28s
    5. Positioning submenus
      5m 43s
    6. Controlling submenu display
      5m 5s
    7. Creating persistent hover states
      5m 53s
    8. Animating menus with CSS transitions
      6m 29s
    9. Lab: Dropdown menus
      6m 51s
    10. Solution: Dropdown menus
      8m 49s
  7. 58m 7s
    1. Creating CSS-only buttons
      8m 39s
    2. Creating special effects for buttons
      4m 2s
    3. Enhancing buttons with gradients
      7m 40s
    4. Overview of CSS sprites
      3m 30s
    5. Using CSS sprites for icons
      14m 30s
    6. Styling block-level links
      8m 38s
    7. Lab: Enhancing navigation with CSS
      5m 26s
    8. Solution: Enhancing navigation with CSS
      5m 42s
  8. 6m 29s
    1. Additional resources
      6m 29s

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CSS: Styling Navigation
5h 14m Beginner Nov 16, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join James Williamson, as he shows you how to create elegant menus, links, and buttons that help visitors navigate your site faster and more intuitively. The course covers creating structured navigation that is accessible and clean, styling links, and building horizontal and vertical menus with rollover effects. The last chapter reveals how to create stylish buttons with special effects and CSS sprites.

Topics include:
  • Organizing menus with lists
  • Creating block-level links
  • Styling links, link states, and image links
  • Defining link dimensions
  • Controlling link spacing in a menu
  • Creating rollovers
  • Clearing floats
  • Indicating current pages
  • Controlling cursor states
  • Building dropdown menus
  • Creating CSS-only buttons
Subjects:
Developer Web Web Design Web Development
Software:
CSS
Author:
James Williamson

Controlling link spacing

Okay, our menu is looking pretty good, but right now, there is just no visual separation between the links themselves. If I come up to the menu, and I kind of hover over these links, sometimes it's not quite obvious which one I'm hovering over because there's just no separation between them. So in this exercise, we're going to take a look at one of the ways that we can add some visual separation. So, I'm going to go back in my code editor, and I'm working with the vertical.htm file found in the 03_05 directory. And you can see once again I've sort of scrolled down to our vertical menu styles.

We're going to continue working with the same selector, which is the one that's targeting the links inside of the list items, the li a selector. I'm just going to go down to the bottom of this. And I'm sure some of you guys have already sort of figured out that if you want the separation between elements, margins would be a good place to start. You're right, margins would work great. The same way that padding adds a little bit of interior space to our menu items, margins will allow us to sort of space them apart. Now, when I think about how I want them spaced apart, I really just need to push them down away from each other a little bit just to leave a little bit of space.

So, instead of putting a margin all the way around the links, which would be kind of bad idea, I'm just going to focus on applying it to the bottom. So, I'm going to do a margin-bottom. And we don't need a lot of it. As a matter of fact, I'm just going to echo what we did with our padding above it, and I'll just do 0.2 ems. I'm going to go ahead and save that, go back out to my browser, refresh the page, and there you go. Now we've got some vertical separation. So that is perfect. So now, as I mouse over the different menu items, I know exactly which one I'm going to be clicking on, which of course is a very important part of any user experience when you're dealing with menus.

Now, using margins like this to control link spacing does make sense. I want to point out that it's really not always the right choice. Currently, the colors that we're getting as the visual separator between these links is coming from the page itself. So, we're just sort of seeing through, if you will. Now, you could have applied a background color to the parent unordered list or even the list item elements and that could shine through. But unless you've done that, the background of the page or the region that the menu is in is going to show through the links. And often that's not the best choice. You might have a background color of the page that just doesn't work or maybe even you're looking at an image back there.

So in those cases, you're going to want to use some type of an alternate method of visually separating those links. We're going to go ahead and explore one of those methods in our next exercise as we replace the margins that we're using here by adding some borders to our menu styling.

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