Spruced-Up Site Maps

by Kim Siever

67 Reader Comments

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  1. Ah. Stupid me. Thanks for telling me that in a nice way, Kim! :o)

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  2. I’m no designer, and the CSS is pretty messed up, but I’ve been using this same metaphor for ages now:

    http://loadaveragezero.com/hnav/sitemap.php

    Go right ahead and tear me a new one, I can take it. ;-)

    Doug

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  3. Hi all,

    after reviewing a previous comment I made, I wanted to make sure I clarified something.

    “Unfortunately, the editors suggested I make the parent list items links as well. That completely changed how things were going to work.”

    I did not mean by this that it was unfortunate ALA editors made a suggestion to improve the usability of the sitemap. What I did mean was that it was unfortunate that the new technique did not provide for a cross-browser solution that did not require a new class. Naturally, this is not the fault of the ALA editors.

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  4. I have also done a similar thing, though I have used definition lists for it so I didnt have to set a specific style for a subfolder.

    The tree menu has full folder functionality, all that needs to be added are some classes that change the image from a folder to a file or whatever you like.

    If you dont like the javascript to expand/retract folders you can just leave it out, all you need to do is not include the javascript. This will still save you lots of time getting things to fit to the pixel (it’s a b*tch).

    The menu has been tested in Mozilla, Safari, Netscape, IE and Opera and works fine in all. There is a problem with nesting bigger than three folders down that I havent yet addressed. Should be an easy fix when I get time to look at it.

    Anyway, enjoy: http://fumle.dk/public/javascript/tree/

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  5. Hmm, I have a preference for sections to be heading tags, for accessibility reasons. Screen-reader users can navigate a hierarchy of headings and therefore would be able to get the listing of the pages in that section far more easily.

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  6. Seb,

    If you take a look at the example page linked at the end of the article, you will see the sitemap does use headings. The reason I didn’t use lower-level headings for the parent list items was because those items had their own pages and were also still items in the list.

    I’m not sure I would say headings and subheadings are more semantical than using nested lists.

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  7. Even though the Code Cops seemed to have torn you a new one, I think that you will find your technique will be utilized elsewhere more and more now that this is on ALA.

    Even though the “I did that same thing ten years ago” folks can never seem to keep to themselves while they discuss and marvel at their own genius elsewhere, I believe you will find something similar in their toolbelts soon.

    Aside from some minor detours away from the CSS Bible of Coding Statutes, good work and keep moving. It seems to be the only way to avoid getting hit in here anymore.

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  8. When an article is posted on ALA, it is crucial that it is exposed to robust discussion and critique of the approaches used.

    Without this, ALA would serve little purpose beyond hosting hacky how-to’s that thrive on thousands of ‘dezine’ forums around the web.

    If someone posts an article of a reasonably obvious and widely used approach, and makes some rather obvious errors in process, testing and final output, then it’s likely that on ALA it will get pulled apart.

    As has been mentioned already, styling nested lists has already had major visibility in the ‘scene’ over a year ago, without some of the glaring errors evident in the ALA example.

    http://www.simplebits.com/notebook/2003/10/19/styling_nested_lists.html

    As ALA’s goal is (was?) to increase CSS and xHTML technology I don’t really think its fair to presume anyone who criticised this article negatively as people who ‘marvel at their own genius’. Most have adopted earlier and better techniques in their toolbelt – happily acknowledging the original source.

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  9. this isn’t innovative, but since it’s something that is easy to do badly it is worth having a tutorial in the archives at ALA. Thanks

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  10. has anyone ever run across the situation where “bullets” sporadically disappear when implemented as the background image for <li> elements? can anyone point me toward a fount of knowledge on what causes this glitch? (ie6)

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  11. Peter Müller;

    “The menu has been tested in Mozilla, Safari, Netscape, IE and Opera and works fine in all.”


    Not in MY copy of Safari it doesn’t; your folders do not expand or retract, and the RHS column of pretty icons extends past the end of its “containing” white rectangle on many sub-pages.

    On further investigation, the expand and contract is in fact not functional in firefox (windows) either, and in IE 6 the whole sitemap is bumped down below the LHS navigation, and the folders still don’t collapse.

    Comments about “glass houses” come immediately to mind…

    Caveat: I just realised that maybe you removed the script you were talking about? if not, oh dear…

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  12. I’ve had a similar situation on my intranet for about a year now. Except that I have a class on the ul called iconbullet, and then on the child li’s I have classes that show different icons based on their type, i.e. folder (for parents), url, pdf, xls, etc…

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  13. I think sprucing up a site map is the right thing to do. Most people treat the site map as a necessary device but treat it as it doesn’t belong in the website.

    You never know who will be looking at your sites. I say be proud of every page.

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  14. Site maps are an important aspect of general UI design for the web and for Intranet/Extranet development. I believe that it may be one of the most important pages next to the actual home page.

    And I digress with regards to my comments about the code cops in a previous post. It does, indeed, require criticism to move forward and learn. My remarks were intended to incite constructive critique as opposed to rip and tear. “Let me share my findings and point out the differences,” works much better than “I did this same thing a few years back and yours doesn’t work in Safari.” ;)

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  15. What do you tell on this site-map/ul style?
    Sorry for czech lang of site.

    http://www.pcsp.cz/mapa-serveru.php

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  16. Simple pre-loading such as:

          window.onload = function () {
            var imagesArray = new Array(‘images/image1.jpg’,‘images/image2.jpg’);
            preloadImages(imagesArray);
          }
     
          function preloadImages(imagesArray) {
            for(var loop = 0; loop < imagesArray.length; loop++){
              var preloadedImage = new Image();
              preloadedImage.src = imagesArray[loop];
            }

    … will solve the problem where the “little file icon” takes a while to load when hovering over it for the first time.

    Merely add all the images used in the hover effect to the array called “imagesArray” in the JavaScript above and away you go!

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  17. I always thought sitemaps were for search engines.  This actually makes a sitemap navigable by a human.  Very cool.

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