View Full Version : How can a Flash icon menu bar help you?

09-15-2008, 10:01 PM
I thought that this was an interesting article...........................

How can a Flash icon menu bar help you? It's connected with the the age-old battle on websites, between the content, and the navigation. With more and more websites reaching proportions almost never imagined when they started out, the menus have grown ever larger, to the detriment in many cases of the actual content. What should a visitor see a menu, or content? The solution to this dilemma could well be to implement a Flash icon bar menu, since these manage to combine the best of both worlds.

As a website designer you probably want to achieve two things at the same time, which sadly are almost always entirely incompatible. The first thing you want to do is to provide clear, interesting content on your pages which will grab your visitors attention, and engage them with enough regular, updated content to make them want to come back again and again, and of course, hopefully order something if that's what your site is about. But at the same time, you also want to try to encourage your visitors to explore the rest of your website, making it very clear what is on each of the next pages.

To do this, however, you often need large chunky buttons with lots of descriptive text on them, or even whole paragraphs linked to each page. It's certainly important to make sure your visitors are aware of what is on each of the next pages, or sections, but to do this takes up very valuable real estate on the page.

Space on a web page is very limited, with 97% of people never scrolling down beyond the top section of the home page. This means that anything lower than what is immediately visible on the screen is rarely seen. Content down there will be ignored, and in the few cases where people have chosen to have their menus or navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen, they may as well not even bother having a website. A website designer also has to consider that what may be visible on his or her screen may not always be visible on someone else's, since both the size of the monitor and the resolution will make a great deal of difference.

The solution to this dilemma may well be to implement a Flash icon bar menu, which effectively is a row of small, discreet icons that can fit very conveniently on any particular portion of the web page, perhaps along the very top, or just under the title, or even running vertically up one of the sides of the web page. This menu takes up very little room, and so gives you the opportunity to use the space you do have for actual content.

But the beauty of a Flash icon bar menu is that as the visitor rolls over each of these icons, the menu icons move, enlarge and appear drawn towards the mouse as they inflate almost like balloons. This means that, temporarily, whilst the mouse is hovering over them, you have suddenly gained web page real estate, because the icon is now large enough to be able to display the actual content of the link, and give the visitor lots more information about the page or category to which it is linked.

By moving the mouse from one icon to the next, the remaining icons deflate back to their original size, and allow the actual page content to be displayed again. This really is a fantastic solution since it really does provide the best of both worlds with an icon menu that takes up very little space on the page, and yet at the same time the Flash menu facilitates the interactive expansion of those parts of the menu that the visitor is currently interested in. The beauty of any interactive menu or gallery is that the visitor may well be intrigued simply by how it works, if you're one of the first to use it of course.

Once interested, your visitors will then be far more likely to move further into your site. Of course, the fact that your Flash menu didn't take up as much space on your web page also means that you can either space out the content, making it appear less cluttered and therefore more readable, or simply cram more content in, and hope to engage your audience even more.

By using Flash, you are able to insert the menu file as easily as inserting an image, and then have the menu refer to an external text file which tells it the list of links and pages, and any other information. A Flash icon bar menu should be fully customizable too, meaning that you can edit the icons, the appearance and the style to match the style and theme of your existing website, and even alter the way it behaves. Think about the layout of your own website, and imagine gaining all the space that your menu is currently taking up what would you do with it to improve your site's appeal?

If you want information on Icon Bar Menus so as to give a totally professional look to your website menus, then check out Icon Bar Menu and decide yourself whether or not you believe that can help you. If it can't, then you must be perfect!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Pete_Nisbet

Tom Finley
09-16-2008, 12:30 AM
Thanks David. The site he refers to is http://www.flashloaded.com/flashcomponents/iconbarmenu/

09-16-2008, 12:39 AM
Keep in mind that Flash is read completely different (image based, without core values to index), so without text-based navigation URL's to follow on the page itself, SE's will only "follow" a site if the site itself is not made entirely in Flash (has a solid HTML foundation, as found with Blue Voda and it's Unicode/HTML core) and has an accurate sitemap to compel it to crawl.

Typically, using this method is merely replacing a 'dynamic menu' script with a more image-based one, and is emerging as a more efficient way to engage visitors. Keep your eyes open to the next generation of Flash+Video methodologies, already in limited use!

PS: Belongs in "Reviews" and not General Forums...

09-16-2008, 12:52 AM
this is where it at.................see top of page

Non-VodaHost website development software products . Discussions, articles and help with about third party website development softwares such as Microsoft FrontPage, Microsoft Publisher, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Macromedia Flash, Swish Flash, Adobe Go Live and any and all other third party website development software products .

09-16-2008, 01:52 AM
Alrighty then!