Re: Drop-down hotspots and usability

Subject: Re: Drop-down hotspots and usability
From: Lou Quillio <quillio -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 20:08:37 -0500

On Sat, 26 Mar 2005 19:20:07 -0500, Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> Unfortunately many times they're not implemented well, and end up
> looking like sub-headings or bold text, and users don't think to click
> on them. Your example is better, because you have the "expand/collapse
> icon" next to them.

The icon helps. It's text in this case, but the Javascript used here
makes is easy to substitute XHTML <img> tags for `contractsymbol` and
`expandsymbol`. Just a matter of positioning after that.
Cross-platform, too. You could sniff for client-side ECMA and just
expand everything where it's turned off, if you care about paranoid

In my example, another thing that helps is the FAQ-style presentation.
A question mark at the end of each expandable link removes any
lingering doubt. It wouldn't do to sprinkle these links on phrases
buried in paragraph text.

My own UI sense, though, is that FAQ-style presentation isn't used
enough. There's something deeply satisfying about finding *my*
question (or close) in an easily-scanned list, and banging straight
to the answer. Natch there's no reason the _expanded_ text can't
include images, or a link to detailed resources. This particular pile
of ECMA can persist expando-state across a session, so, even if you
leave, things are expanded as you left them upon return.

So I wouldn't try to force it where it doesn't belong, but re-thinking
how to _make_ it belong can sometimes yield a more effective
user-presentation -- that is, cut the narrative and answer the



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Drop-down hotspots and usability: From: A.H.
Re: Drop-down hotspots and usability: From: Lou Quillio
Re: Drop-down hotspots and usability: From: Bill Swallow

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