AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerThe Lowdown on Website Drop Downs

Subscribe to AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

The Lowdown on Website Drop Downs

We all use dropdowns boxes every day on the internet. A dropdown (it is also called a pull-down menu, drop-down lists or drop-down box) is simply a list of items that appear when clicking a button or rolling over a button area.Software menu item with support and service command

It’s used for navigation of a site and for information-entering.

These are not the most sexy part of a website, but they are critical to user experience. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, the misuse of dropdowns creates usability problems and confusion.

  • Dropdowns do conserve on screen space. And most of us do know how to use a dropdown when we fill out a form. NN/G makes some good recommendations when working with dropdown boxes and dropdown menus.
  • Consistent Menus: Don’t change your look from one menu to another. Also avoid interacting menus. These are caused by options in one menu changing another menue.
  • Gray out unavailble options. Don’t remove,
  • Avoid super long dropdowns that require scrolling. You may need to re-think you menu if it gets too long and use a mega menu.
  • Avoid list when typing is faster. The example NN/G offered is when you are trying to enter your state.  Instead of listing 50 states, it may be easier to just enter NY for New York.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.