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New Navigation with Dropdown Menus

Posted on Friday, October 21, 2016 1:00 PM

If you are using the desktop version of this site, you will notice that we now have a new layout for the navigation bar that is at the top of every page. We thought that it was time to make some changes that would improve usability, simplify the design, and decrease load times.

Here is what the navigation looked like previously:

Screen capture of our previous navigation layout

And now, this is what the new navigation bar looks like on the same page:

Screen capture of our new navigation layout

The sections that have been named "Now Showing" and "The Marquee" since our beginning in 1996 have been renamed simply to "Movies" and "Theaters." You may wonder why in the world they weren't named that from the beginning, and all I can say in our defense was that we were trying to be a little original. However, some long-time readers were still getting confused when they wanted to find showtimes by theater, and this change was begun when we released the mobile-friendly version of the site last year.

You will notice in the graphics above that we now offer dropdown menus in the top navigation under the "Movies" and "Theaters" headings. These dropdowns give you immediate access to the various listings within each of those sections. We hope that this will draw more attention to all the different ways that you can find the movie and/or theater you're seeking.

The background is now a solid color instead of the alternating lines. This is a minor change, but those narrow lines would look odd on some tablets. Removing that background allowed us to shrink the amount of graphics that needed to be sent, which speeds up the display of pages, and more in keeping with the new design themes on many web sites/services without going too far down that road and impacting visual interest altogether.

Other factors that affect the time it takes for each page to be downloaded include how the graphics are displayed, and how some of the functionality is handled. Rather than have individual graphics that need to be loaded, all the graphics are now what are called sprites, where only one graphic is loaded instead of thirteen. The functionality of the navigation, including those drop-downs, are now handled by CSS, which is a much faster and reliable way to do it than via JavaScript.

Let Us Know What You Think!

We hope that you like these changes! As always, please let us know what you think about any aspect of our site by completing the Feedback Form, or you can leave a comment at the bottom of this message as well. Unlike many services where you can get movie and theater information, I read and often respond to every single message sent in by our readers. Those comments affect how we move this site forward and the features that we offer, so your constructive criticism isn't only welcome, it's necessary for us to deliver the best service possible!

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