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I'm wondering if links inside a dropdown provides a valid user experience, if it isn't part of the main navigation of the site.

For a news website I'm trying to come up with a nice way for the visitors to report a spelling error in the article, ask content related remarks and/or questions to editor and submit a news tip.

Each action links to a different page. The first one goes to a specific topic in a forum where the visitor can tell the editors that there is a spelling error in the article. The second one goes to a forum category where they can ask a question about a specific article and with the third one they can submit a tip for an article.

I don't want to provide three seperate links, since it takes a little bit too much space, so I'm wondering if I can provide a dropdown with the links inside them.

See for example:

Beneath the title of the article there is a function Beneath the title of the article there is a function 'Feedback/tips'

When the user clicks on the 'Feedback/tips'-function, a dropdown appears containing three links When the user clicks on the 'Feedback/tips'-function, a dropdown appears containing three links

Vwiw: the visitors can also leave comments beneath the article, but we don't want spelling errors in the comments (we tend to get a lot of comments and it's impossible for the editor to read all the comments. In the seperate section they can discuss the thing reported by the visitor)

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Should that say "Comment on content"? I know it was a quick mockup, just thought I'd point it out just in case though. –  Frank B Feb 4 '13 at 22:19
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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

As long as it is clear from your formatting of the links that they are links, you shouldn't have a problem with this.

It is basically a drop down menu, and they are used all over the place without too much of an issue. Additionally you are using verbs in the menu items, so it is clear that selecting one of them will perform an action.

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Thanks, you're absolutely right. Don't know why I started to doubt it :) –  Misha Scholte Feb 4 '13 at 15:47
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I'd first question whether that area is the best location for any of those links.

  • If as a reader (non-employee) I care enough about your content to notify you of spelling/grammar mistakes, I'll probably read the whole article before wanting to do that. Perhaps at the bottom of the article you could have a link saying "Suggest spelling/grammar corrections" instead. You'd probably get more people using this.

  • Submitting a general news tip doesn't seem like an action that belongs within an article. I'd expect to find it in the main menu bar or sidebar, for example like Techcrunch. Unless of course the news tip is specific to the article in question (i.e. a source for this article), in which case that should probably be made clearer with your copy.enter image description here

    • I'm not quite sure I understand the difference between "Content related remarks/questions" and general comments beneath the article. Presumably you want a link to the normal comments around the article title area as well, so that could get confusing. I would try to make it more obvious what the difference between those two types of comments are, and potentially link to both types from the same area, so users know exactly what sort of comment they're leaving.

So, I haven't really answered your exact question. With your limited info I would suggest a 'Report spelling/grammar mistakes' link at the bottom of the article, a 'Submit news tip' button outside of the article area, and differentiating the two types of comments more clearly.

Otherwise, using links inside a dropdown menu is totally acceptable and very common place, and 'Feedback/tips' seems to be a good umbrella term for your 3 options.

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The use of links in the dropdown menu should not be an issue.

The specific menu you have shared however has an issue of a mismatch with the user's mental model. While the carrot at the end indicates more options, it's not clear on what bases are the items grouped and what's the purpose of the first link. A better label is needed.

Also, why do you want the visitors to report spelling errors, I would think that it's a part of quality check. By showing it, it communicates that there are errors in the article

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