Drop-Down Menu System Provides New Navigation Capabilities for Dotnetnuke

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(Gawkwire.com) – Today PackFlash released their new Dotnetnuke Mega Drop-Down Menu System. This system provides administrable Mega Menus which dynamically list site pages, and allow full content edit capabilities. The system includes the menu building tool, sample DNN skins which demonstrate the tool, and an administration module for managing the menus.

What is a Mega Menu?

“Mega Menus” or “Mega Drop-Downs” are terms used to describe an increasingly popular form of menus for web sites. The interface consists of large link panels appearing when a user hovers over tabs in a menu bar. Whereas traditional drop-down menus consist of a single column of links to “child” pages which display directly under a “parent” page, the Mega Drop-Down presents a wider multi-column view so that more links are immediately visible to the user without need for hovering over a menu item to get a “fly out” of more sub-pages. This approach provides an omnipresent guide allowing the user to more easily find the content they seek.

There are several benefits to the mega menu approach. They are universally lauded as easier to use than the older styles of drop-downs. The ease-of-use even extends to mobile browsers which have an especially difficult time with traditional drop-down/fly-out navigation tools. The reason that they are easier to use is that a much broader set of options can be presented, and done in a way that graphically communicates the hierarchy the site. As a comparison, imagine cutting a 1-inch square in piece of paper and then trying to read a restaurant menu vs. being able to see the entire page unobstructed. The fuller view allows for the inclusion of explanatory text and imagery to help the user make a faster decision, and marketing messages can even be imparted. Taken together these benefits all add up to better enabling a site to serve its visitors, and for sites that have a lot of pages this approach is quickly becoming indispensible.

The PackFlash Mega Drop-Down Menu System:

PackFlash’s product manager for their Mega Drop-Down Menu System, Jason Lichon, explains how they came to create the product: “At PackFlash we’ve been working with DotNetNuke for 6 years, and for years we’ve extended the menu functionality beyond what DNN could do out of the box. It was relatively simple for us to extend our existing tools to enable an automated display of a site menu in the multi-column style. But, to really reach the potential of the mega format, we felt there needed to be administrative element, allowing more complex column layouts and content display. Our first test run of the concept was on our own site, http://www.PackFlash.com, and we quickly realized the power of this menu option. Not only was it a better way to navigate our site, but it actually enabled us to tell the story of our company and products along the way.”

There are several pieces that come together as part of the PackFlash Mega Menu system. First, there is a tool that automatically builds the menus according to the pages found on the DNN site. This tool is known as a “skin object” in the DotNetNuke world because it is deployed as part of the “skin” that acts as the template for a site’s pages, determining how the site “looks and feels.” This object essentially embeds the menu into all the pages of the site according to the rules and options that are selected. It must be emphasized that this tool produces mega menus in an automated fashion according to the hierarchy of the pages found on the site. It should also be noted that PackFlash is currently providing this DNN skin object for free to the DotNetNuke community.

Next there is an admin capability that allows administrators to enrich the menu with content and imagery and to control the columnar layout of the mega menus. This control over the layout is essential if the goal is to include as many links as possibly in a given menu, because the links will usually need to be re-organized to make the most effective use of space.
Finally, to bring it all together, PackFlash is providing 3 sample DNN skins to demonstrate how the system works. These samples can serve as the basis for developers to create their own custom-formatted menus.

Technical Capabilities and Considerations of the PackFlash Mega Drop-Down Menu System:

Menus can be driven completely by CSS, or enhanced with JQuery to provide cross-browser transitions. The sample skins show both approaches.

Menus can be styled via CSS to meet almost any requirement. Individual menu elements are given both generalized class names and unique IDs to be used as CSS selectors.

The mega menu system allows for the separation of the DNN Admin and Host menus, saving more space for main content menu.

Menus can be versioned and saved this allows you to change your menu content for a special promotion or season, and then revert back afterwards

The mega menu is SEO friendly, providing all interior links with every page of a DotNetNuke site

Menu HTML mark-up is WC3 compliant

Sample DNN skins demonstrate how to include drop shadows on the mega drop-downs if desired

Menus themes are portable to different DNN skins

The PackFlash Video module for DotNetNuke is for sale on Snowcovered.com (the marketplace for DotNetNuke extensions) at PackFlash Mega Drop-Down Menu System.

A free trial for the DotNetNuke Mega Drop-Down Menu System is also available, by registering on the packflash.com site.

To learn more about PackFlash and the PackFlash product suite visit the following links:

DotNetNuke Video Module with Video Gallery and Player

DotNetNuke Friendly URL, SEO, and Sitemap Module by PackFlash

DotNetNuke Publishing Module for Press Releases, Blogs, News by PackFlash

DotNetNuke Mega-Dropdown Navigation by PackFlash

DotNetNuke Mega Drop-Down Menu Module and Skin Samples by PackFLash

About PackFlash:

PackFlash is a developer of modules for the DotNetNuke Content Management System. The products include PackFlash Publishing, PackFlash Video, PackFlash Friendly URLs, SEO, and Sitemaps, PackFlash Comments, PackFlash Navigation, and a number of PackFlash skins that have been marketed and sold to the DotNetNuke Community. For more information, please visit Packflash.


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