InactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
edited March 2007 in Website Critique
Hello Everyone. I have a general critique/implementation request for a very large, complex online help database that is implemented with XHMTL/CSS. This is a question for advanced designers ... but everyone is free to chime in!The table of contents for the help is implemented being implemented in two ways for the purpose of testing. The first method uses the <ul> element to present the table of contents as a set of bullets.http://www.scenomics.com/documentation/help.stmThe second method uses <table> elements to present the contents in a more standard visual form, as you might find in a book. Table-less layout is a big deal but W3C says that tables are appropriate for tabular data. I think a table of contents qualifies.http://www.scenomics.com/documentation/commands.stmhttp://www.scenomics.com/documentation/interface.stmEither way, there are going to be a lot of nested tags. Which approach is better? As far as I can see, neither approach scales better/worse than the other.[Also, this help is under construction. You will find things that don`t yet work.]Scaling is important because there are around 500 pages already and 1000 graphics. The page count will increase over time. [The site makes heavy use of server side includes.]Some technical writers have commented that the <ul> based design doesn`t have the right look/feel for a table of contents and that the <table> based design is better.
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The nested appearance is controlled by CSS in this stylesheet. So the table is just a straight table <table>, <tr>, <td>, with nested tags as required by table structure.
[ See "Table Of Contents Styles " at the bottom.]
The table contents are not in a database as there would be very little gain since it`s just a list of hyperlinks ... albeit a long list. There are also design issues with database use.
The page source for most of the pages is shown here.
I also have an additional question.
Some experimentation has been done with providing "Back" links at the top of the pages. However, this doesn`t really scale well, and using the back button is easier as it returns you to the exact place in the previous page, so you don`t have to scroll down through the table of contents to find your place again, for example. What do you think of this?
Feel free to post a snippet of CSS code and Thanks Again!
The back button, or BACKSPACE key, makes it relatively painless to navigation backwards. I think backwards navigation options in the page are rather superfluous, and have a per-page cost in terms of memory.
The idea of opening the page in a new window from the TOC. Well, to be honest, I don`t like this either. Funny, though I`m not necessarily a standards-freak ... well actually I am ... I really believe in not breaking document flow.
I know frames aren`t a favorite technique ...
But I agree. Actually I could probably create something that looked exactly the same with tables or lists. Or with <p> elements.
I just don`t like bullets for this unless you`re using some roman numeral outline format.So turn them off using CSS. RichardBuggy2007-3-13 6:47:48