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CSS jQuery Basics (2014) Creating a Mobile Drop Down Menu Preparation

I think this is a bit of a cop out

I have been studying with treehouse for 18 months now and one of the things which first presented itself as a real problem was making drop down menus. I learned from web research how to make them with css, and was never really fully happy with the results but they worked, alot of code, but they worked. I was looking forward to getting to this project to see how my existing way of doing drop downs could be improved. I also learned how to make drop downs with Jquery before reaching this project. And now I have I think this is a cop out. Where on the web would you see a select box used as a drop down menu. No where, you can't really style a select box that easily and it looks crap. I was really looking forward to this project as drop down menus for mobiles are really something you need to have down as a designer or developer and this project i really don't feel tackles the subject well. No criticism of Andy Chalkley, his teaching style is excellent, but why teach drop downs in a way you would never use on the web?

6 Answers

Guil Hernandez
Guil Hernandez
Treehouse Teacher

Hi Nigel Hayward,

Using a select element for mobile menus is a well-accepted 'Progressive Enhancement' method that's been around for quite a while. In fact, much of Aaron Gustafson's Adaptive Web Design book is centered around this idea.

As with most things in web dev, there's no silver bullet for mobile navs—I think it's a clever solution. :)

Ryan Field
Ryan Field
Courses Plus Student 21,240 Points

To be fair, you do see select boxes on the web in a lot of different places. Now, perhaps they're not often used as navigation elements, but the course from which you posted is a jQuery basics course, so you really can't expect to learn things like making custom dropdown menus there. Once you have a sufficient grasp on jQuery, however, making sleek dropdown menus is quite simple. I think the point of these courses is to give you the tools to create what you want, not to teach you how to make specific things like dropdown menus.

I too wanted to learn how to create a mobile drop down menu that was a bit more conventional in terms of what you would see on the internet. You know what I did? I learned how to code it myself using the techniques I was taught during this course. I think these tutorials are more of a practice in getting you to think with jQuery as opposed to just copying and pasting code.

Nigel, I'd say calling this a "cop out" is unfair considering the scope of this course.

Ryan makes a good point. This is a basics course. The focus seems to be on introducing workflow, jQuery tools/documentation and how to put into practice the 4 P's of problem solving introduced in an earlier course.

Furthermore, I think the expectation is that the student will take the example projects and refactor, improve, and experiment with the material.

I've been a student with Treehouse for less than 3 months. I really appreciate the being able to have another chance to use the 4 P's of problem solving.

be quiet

Steven Ventimiglia
Steven Ventimiglia
27,364 Points

I think this is a relative approach, considering that it's a jQuery course. However, when it comes to a top menu located in the header, one of the most widely adopted methods is to turn it into a hamburger menu, placing those links into a fixed sidebar so the list remains responsive in a fluid manner.

Having said that, this is actually a wonderful approach when it comes to organizing a group of links inside the content area, such as within a profile editor or gallery with several links to sections within it. They would normally wrap into a long list pushing important content too far down and not as visible as it should be when the page loads on a mobile device.