FAQ

On Tue, 09 Sep 2003 13:56:13 -0400, Peter Hansen wrote:
Not that this point is necessarily worth considering, but I note that
my brain perceived several of the vertically stacked pairs of links in
that top navbar _together_, leading to a fraction of a second of confusion.
I agree, but it's worse than that.

First, when you get used to useless banners being topmost on the page, you
tend to skip right over them. I know I've made many a trip to the Python
site without noticing that there were links up there. Put the banner
header on top, with the horizontal menu below it. (Yes, this will
temporarily annoy the folks who are used to the current layout, but no
significant change can avoid all temporary annoyances.)

Second, it's just way too busy and redundant. It's more thn simply the
vertical alignment; there are too many items in that section. (Actually,
there are two many static links on the entire page - I counted 45, not
including the announcements).

The horizontal banner really only needs a handful of items:
documentation
downloads
community
search (preferably with a quick search box)
contact us

"Home" is unnecessary; use the logo in the upper left for home on all pages
(yep, consistent navigation on all pages is a plus). "Developers" is
ambiguous. (A newcomer will think it means someone trying to develop with
Python as opposed to maintain Python.) It's also a sufficiently small
number as to not need top billing - as much as they deserve tons of credit.
Both SIGs and Developers should be subsets of Community (i.e. you there via
the Community link, at least as far as the horizontal navigation bar is
concerned). Documentation implies Help, and Help implies Documentation, so
we don't need both in the horizontal bar.

The basic point is that the static appearance of the horizontal navigation
bar must be kept short and simple, with no ambiguous choices. If you want
more choices via popups for the JavaScript browsers that's ok, so long as
the top level items that everyone case see are active links as well (i.e.
it still works with JavaScript disabled).
(Yeah, I'm really picking nits with this one. :-)
No, you're not picking nits, and that's one of the problems with one school
of old-time engineering mentality. Namely, the minimalization of usability
issues. It's ironic that there are foks who might spend a few hours to
squeeze a few milliseconds out of an algorithm, but would dismiss a half
second as a nit, or not important because you can learn to deal with it.
If you stumbled over it, chances are that other people stumbled over it,
and it all adds up. And humans shouldn't have to learn to deal with
unsatisfactory UIs.

Gary

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