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“Mystery meat navigation”, a term coined by web designer Vincent Flanders, is used to describe a web site’s user interface in which it is very difficult to know where a particular link is actually going to. It sounds like an easy thing to avoid, but it is amazing how many website designers get so immersed in the aesthetics of their design that they completely disregard usability.
There are many times when I’ve seen a website that looks fantastic, but when you go to move around the site you find that the navigation consists of a series of strange symbols or images. Potential customers or subscribers to your site will quickly lose interest. Also, the semantic value of this kind of navigational structure is next to nothing and search engines will struggle to index your pages in an efficient manner.
When designing your site you should make sure the navigation structure is as clear and simple to follow as possible, ideally using short descriptive text for links that is easy to read. Combined a good clean overall design, this can greatly increase the potential of your website, gaining those few extra sales or readers.
Using the “em” Value to Set Font Size in CSS
Font size is sometimes an overlooked attribute when designing a website. If not set by the web developer, it will take default values from whichever browser is being used; and as we know from the current state of the browser industry, these will all be different!
When it is set, it can take values measured in an array of increments such as millimetres (mm), ‘picas’ (pc), ‘points’ (pt) and inches (in). However, these are all ‘absolute’ values and can cause compatibility issues across varying screen resolutions.
It is widely accepted that the best and safest ways of setting font sizes is by using either or both pixels (px) and em’s (em).
I personally prefer to use em’s despite their apparent lack of user-friendliness; it is usually quite difficult to keep track of the current font size as you traverse through the document structure. To get round this it is best to simply set the font size to “62.5%” in the body tag, as any tags deeper in the document will then have 1em be equal to exactly 10 pixels though browser calculations.
This means all em’s are then relatively simple to work out thoughout the page; 2em being 20 pixels, 1.6em being 16 pixels, etc.