An introduction to CSS and how to design a fly out menu{2}

by Giselle N
The article I read this week was about an introduction to CSS and how to design a fly out menu using CSS in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008. According to the author, one of the most difficult parts of developing a website is to make sure it is “usable” in the sense that it’s easy to navigate and that the website responds affectively. One of the main ways businesses try to combat this difficulty is by designing new menus. A menu is very important in a website because it is seen as the main source of navigation. First and foremost, the author defines CSS as, “ a collection of rules of how a Web page should be formatted … CSS helps create an easily accessible and maintainable website since the page content and the formatting rules are separated.” He also goes on to say that using HTML markup tags for formatting and presentation aren’t great because the markup tags are embedded into the content meaning that the presentation of the content could really only be processed the way determined by the designer. On the other hand, CSS allows exact control (outside of markup) of character spacing, text alignment, object positioning, etc…The designer can make the website more easily accessible by separating style from markup. The author studied a classroom of undergraduate students in a web design program who were given a lab to design a fly out menu using CSS. It is described as a “no-code way that gives students the opportunity to develop a useful and appealing web menu with little or no programming experience.” I will not describe the steps taken to design this fly out menu, but they are given in detail in the article if anyone would like to try it out. The result of the lab presented the students with a very easy and helpful way to manage and maintain a website and see how CSS is great tool in creating high quality interfaces easily.


This article was interesting. It gave me a better understanding of what CSS is and not only how practical it is, but how powerful it can be. It’s still a little confusing getting to know all these new tools, terms, and ideas in developing a website, but aside from classroom instruction, articles and tutorials like these can prove to be useful.


Liu, C., & Downing, C. (2010). Using cascading style sheets to design a fly-out menu with microsoft visual studio. Journal of Information Systems Education, 21(3), 275-281.