Note: When reading this keep in mind we may have more of an information architecture problem than a menu usability one.
Suppose we have this menu:
Item 1 ............ Should link to Page 1 AND somehow show its children Item 1.1 ............ Should link to Page 1.1 Item 1.2 ............ Should link to Page 1.2 Item 1.3 ............ Should link to Page 1.3 AND somehow show its children Item 1.3.1 ............ Should link to Page 1.3.1 Item 1.3.2 ............ Should link to Page 1.3.2 Item 2 ............ There is no Page 2. This should not link anywhere. Only show its children. Item 2.1 Item 2.2 Item 2.3 Etc. with more items....
- We want children and grandchildren items hidden by default so we need a way to show them on demand.
- We dont want to use a flyout/hover interaction which our users have trouble with. We only want to use clicking.
- Some parent items are pages themselves and so they must be linked to somehow. Other parent items exist solely to provide a kind of group title to encompass their children and show site structure but these parent items are not pages themselves.
- User base: people above 40 and with little internet experience and sometimes limited vision/dexterity. They have problems with things you would not imagine.
I have thought of doing something like:
Link 1 [+] Link 1.1 Link 1.2 Link 1.3 [+] Link 1.3.1 Link 1.3.2 Non-link 2 [+] Link 2.1 Link 2.2
Where the [+] symbol would be an icon that shows you can open/close a sublevel. You would click on that to see children items but would click on the text to actually go to a page. I'm worried that the [+] icon would be too small to be easily clickable by our users.
Any alternative suggestions would be dearly appreciated as I have had this problem on 3 projects now and have never really found a solution I was satisfied with.