[whatwg] Menus, fallback, and backwards compatibility: ideas wanted

Sander Tekelenburg tekelenb at euronet.nl
Sun Jan 8 22:40:12 PST 2006

At 05:19 +0000 UTC, on 2006-01-09, Ian Hickson wrote:

> On Mon, 9 Jan 2006, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
>> Authors can only suggest presentation, in the end the *user* decides on
>> it. That's the essence of the Web. Thus we should not be thinking merely
>> about what authors want, but at least as much, and probably more, about
>> what users want.
> As a user on a dual monitor 1600x1200 system, I certainly don't have any
> issues with space for navigation...

{shrug} You still have the same problem: namely that the author of the site
cannot know that you have those 2 large screens. I'm sure you take control
(through for instance max-width in your user CSS) when lines of text span
your entire 2 x 1600...


	[nav {display:meta}]

>> It wouldn't need to take up *any* room.
> Um. I'd rather like to see the navigation somewhere!

Just click your device's "nav" button, or whatever implementation it offers,
and WHOOSH, there it is ;)


> At the moment, sites can (and do!) provide a view of their site,
> customised to their site, on pages as appropriate for that page and that
> site. For example:
>    http://www.google.com/support
> ...has links to other major Google pages in a sidebar at the top left,
> links to related pages in the mid-left sidebar area, links to related
> features at the bottom of the left sidebar, links to major subsections in
> the middle of the page, a search form at the top right, links to popular
> subpages in the sidebar to the right, alternative suggestions below that,
> links to other related pages below _that_, and at the bottom has links to
> links only loosely related to the main topic.
> How would that page look if authored with your proposal?

The page wouldn't exist ;) It *is* entirely a navigation menu. There is no
other content there. In 'my proposal', Google wouldn't have to do that
anymore. It could offer all that navigational information on pages that do
have 'actual' content and leave it up to the user-agent to present it in a
useful manner.

That aside, I imagine your point is that there are so many links on that
page, and that they are grouped in sections. But I see no problem with that.
All those links together (assuming they all have a rel attribute and are set
to display meta) would in a simplest form be displayed through some meta
presentational mechanism as a long 'flat' list of links to other sections.
That list might be presented as a shorter list, each with sublists - thus
keeping the sections, provided sections are marked up that way. But instead
of a list it could be presented as objects (iconized and/or text perhaps) for
the 'root' items, each offering their sub items through a contextual menu.
Display the current page in the center of the screen, with everything else
around it. Arrows pointing from the "current page" in the center could make
the "rel" concept quite visual. Whatever. All up to the browser vendor's
imagination. (I imagine objects with contextual menus pointing to sub items
could work well on a small screen, like with a hand-held device. But it might
work well with large-screen desktops too.) For extra coolness it could be
implemented like Mac OS X's Expose feature: hit some F key and have the
entire screen filled with floating objects representing the pages the site's
menu points to ;)

You could even turn it around. Imagine a Web page that offers both actual
content and such a complex navigation menu as your Google example contains. A
user-agent could present those navigational links as a Web page in a separate
browser window, maybe looking exactly like this Google page. After all,
display:meta would not require a Toolbar. It would merely require *some*
'meta-mechanism' for presentating content. (Consider lynx' LINK
implementation for example - no toolbar, but it works fine. Or consider
iCab's "Link Manager", which brings up a browser window with a list of all
links found in the currrent page.)

> Or take this page:
>    http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzz_log/entry/2006/01/07/2100/?fr=fp-buzz-img


> How would that page look if authored with your proposal?

Same as that Google page. (Except of course the links within the actual text
would remain there.)

Sander Tekelenburg, <http://www.euronet.nl/~tekelenb/>

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