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McClain26 McClain26 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Website design services have no hard rule about how and where to put navigation bars. Because most computer screens are wider than they are tall, and good typography for the best readability demands shorter line lengths, it makes sense to put navigation bars on the left or right side of the screen. This layout is becoming increasingly popular because it's practical and allows the site to reserve part of the screen (usually between 150 and 200 pixels) for navigation and identity.

You should never rely exclusively on images for navigation bars. Of course, every graphic on your site should contain ALT text, so even if your visitors have pictures turned off they can still read and use your navigation. That's one of the reasons why it can be risky to use image maps (a single picture that contains a number of links). Because without the pictures turned on, it's impossible to use an image map. It's also important to note that you should always include a text version of your navigation bars, as some people surf with images turned off or even with text-only browsers. You'll often see the text navigation at the bottom of the page.

A common way to keep Web site navigation on screen no matter how much a visitor scrolls is to use frames with the navigation bar in one frame. This way, when users click from point to point, they don't have to reload the navigation bar on each page. The problem with this is that frames can be confusing for site visitors. It's more difficult to print and bookmark a page. Using frames either prevents search engines from finding pages within a Web site, or it causes them to send visitors into a site without the proper frame context being established. Frames can also cause visitors with older browsers to be unable to see any of the content of your site.
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