From my work blog:

I’m currently toying with how big or small to make the header bar (and at the risk of John coming back at me with own words regarding header size, the fold and scrolling here goes…)

My current predicament is the Header Bar, specifically how big it should be and what it should contain. In the current skin something that was criticised was the chunky header – my defence was twofold: firstly it looked good even if it was a little impractical, and secondly, so many of our pages lacked content that actually the more I could eat into the content area the better the limited content would look.

The new skin is going to be opening up a vast content area what with the admin column biting the dust and the header shrinking, which brings me back to the problem at hand: how small should it be? In the screenshot above you can see that it’s tiny, it’s just two lines (discounting the toolbar at the top) – this is of course because it hasn’t been styled – but I do like how it brings content to the fore. As a minimum I’ll need to put the SU logo in there but how big should it be? What amount of pixel space does it need? And what about the ad banner? As a source of revenue it’s important so that sets our header height to at least 70px but then what if the banner went elsewhere?

The options available seem to be:

  • Putting the ad above the left hand content area (so the top of the RH content area is level with the top of the ad) – this keeps the header small and means that some of the pixel height it occupies is not wasted for the RHC
  • putting a double ad banner between the content area and the navigation
  • Tucking it above or below the navigation with the SU logo being the first navigation link as an extra large button
  • Having a similar format to the current one but with the logo (and overall header height) reduced

I think ultimately it doesn’t make a difference – the first two still don’t determine whether how big the logo should be and if it’s at least the height of the banner these alternate locations ultimately waste space so I think the only option is really the last one (which is how it was in my initial mockup – which I should really post here!). I do like the idea of having the Warwick SU navigation tab as the logo though…

0 replies on “Headers”

Yep the only option is the latter. You could cram the navigation in multi layers between the logo and the advert a la lufbra but wouldn’t work with your drop down navigation then.

I almost wish we could just drop the ad banner but the only equivalent we could offer to make the same money would be to sell news articles which I’m not a big fan of either

i’d say selling news stories isn’t such a bad idea – moving with the times…it’s a more ‘sophisticated’ channel and you’d be able to sell it as being integrated with your audience. would give the advertisers potentially more interaction through the forums/comments etc…

don’t know bout navigation – it’s hard…

With my sales hat on I know selling news stories is good (in fact we already do it, it’s just not something we promote too heavily).

The problem we run in to is that it’s hard enough to get people to agree on what our top news story/ies should be without throwing a paying customer into the mix. With web banners we can have 10 people on rotation but with paid news we couldn’t realistically have more than 2 stories and even then I think it would start to crumble and fall a little.

It would be less of an issue if people had faith in my “not cramming the front page gives people an incentive to explore” theory of SU websites but it’s the sort of theory that everyone likes until *their* thing happens and then it needs to be top at all costs. With a web banner. And a fixed banner across all pages. And it should have its own navigation tab…

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