Dropping Graphical Navigation Buttons
Smaller (byte count) graphical navigation buttons were tried.
The resulting appearance
was not satisfactory and using them required other design compromises.
Further numerous web server log entries were generated from the navigation
button links. These problems were eliminated by replacing the graphical
navigation buttons with text links. Review the
site design as it existed at the
time this page was written.
At this point, even I'm curious how long it will be until I
change the site design again though this seems like a fairly
logical conclusion right now. (It was about three months.)
All the problems that I discussed
on the previous page simply disappear completely when graphical
navigation buttons are discarded entirely. There's no longer
a series of compromises and tradeoffs. Size doesn't drop by
30% or 60%; it simply goes away. There's no second guessing
how any browser will handle the ALT tags because there are
no ALT tags. There's no text versus graphics mode because
there's only text to deal with.
It's obvious I can change the color of the link text just
as easily as changing the graphics that are pointed to. It
took about a half hour of experimenting with colors and spacing
on a static HTML page to get what looked right. At one point
I tried square brackets around the links but decided that was
simply pointless clutter. Once I had one page looking the
way I wanted, it took about 15 minutes to modify the script.
There were a few more minutes running it in the root directory
and working out a couple of minor bugs such as an extra
non breaking space that caused odd spacing between the two
lines of links. Once I decided to discard the graphical
navigation buttons, within an hour the entire site had been
Interestingly the actual trigger had little to do with the
page design itself. I looked at my server logs for the first
time and found that just from my own testing on my workstation
site, the larger daily log files were nearly a megabyte in size.
A quick look revealed it was almost all GETs on .gif files
which meant a significant amount of extra work excluding all
the successful retrievals of numerous .gif files before
meaningful page counts could be achieved. There are still several
graphics per page which will need to be dealt with but not
nearly as many.
Since the sole purpose of graphical navigation buttons is
esthetics and I was bothered by the visual size of the newest
buttons from the begining, why not just make a whole set of
problems go away.
This current design can be browsed in 430 pixel wide browser
window before horizontal scroll bars appear. At that point
the text column is already too narrow be practical.
Once I had white links, with the current area highlighted
in red, the pale blue background seemed more out of place.
This may be due to the fact that the table / content
background is no longer separated from the white button
text by the red button background. See the
previous design for
comparison. A little experimentation
confirmed that the white background looked better.
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