Network: Web design: It's time to de-junk those Web pages

Don't faze your Web site-visitor with a clutter of useless information. Instead, draw up some easy-to-surf menus. Here's how
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The Independent Culture
ONE OF my chief gripes about most websites that I see on the Internet is the overabundance of unorganised links strewn about the page. You've probably seen sites with long lists of links that stretch off the window. They often add visual noise to the design and waste precious screen space without really assisting with navigation.

Net-surfers rarely take the time to read an entire Web page. Instead, they scan across the screen for relevant information. Yet, human beings can process only so much information at a time. With cluttered Web pages, visitors must wade through dozens or hundreds of links in order to find that one path to the information they desire.

Anything designers can do to aid the visitor's ability to scan through a page (organising links in lists and showing the lists only when the visitor needs them) will improve the usability of their website.

Pop-down menus have been a favourite Graphic User Interface (GUI) device for years. These menus appear as a single word at the top of your window or screen that, when pressed, will display a list of further options to chose from. For instance, under File you may find Save, Close and Print. We can in fact set up a similar scheme on a Web page using frames, a bit of JavaScript and a simple form.

First, we set up a frames document with a thin frame stretching across the top of the window that will hold our menu(s), and then a larger frame underneath to display our content:|