Sub-Menus: Dropline vs Dropdown

From a design and usability standpoint, which type of Sub-Menu is better:

1.) Dropline Sub-Menus

2.) Dropdown Sub-Menus

And why?

Also, from a supportability standpoint, which fairs better?

Debbie

Neither are the most accessible but a dropline can be made more accessible by having the submenu display by default (even when js is turned off in ie6). This aids those who have a lack of motor control as dropdown menus frequently disappear before the less able can get to them.

Droplines are more suitable when there are fewer sub menu items as you really want them to occupy a single line only and not wrap to 2 or three lines or it gets very messy.

Dropdowns are better when there are many options but using a dropdown as your main site menu is probably a lack of foresight as you don’t usually want to bewilder your visitor with millions of choices. Much better to have a well structured and well thought out page hierarchy than a menu stuffed full of links that no one will remember.

Dropdowns are very hard to navigate even for the well-abled unless you construct them carefully and add delays and keyboard access.

Sites that need to display lost of information or lists of things (like motor parts etc) may be suitable for a dropdown but many sites don’t really need them for their main navigation.

How do you do that?

Droplines are more suitable when there are fewer sub menu items as you really want them to occupy a single line only and not wrap to 2 or three lines or it gets very messy.

So what about something like the LA Times is using?

Debbie

It’s just me, but I hate, hate, hate dropline menus. They never work the way I expect them to, and I spend a lot of time chasing links around the screen. :twocents:

You code it so that on the current page the submenu is shown by default like this very very old menu.

So what about something like the LA Times is using?
Debbie

Yes that’s doing exactly what I said they’d have to do and all the sublinks can only occupy one single line. If you wanted to add 10 more links to the first submenu then they wouldn’t fit.

I wrote an article on using mega menus based on feedback and analysis from Jacob Nielsen, one of the industry leaders in the web field.

It’s pure CSS, handles enough information cleanly and presents the user with detailed links.