Apple has a new Website. The last time they had a major redesign was in 2001, coinciding with the release of OS 10.0 (you can review a lot of Apple homepage images on Flickr). Over the next couple of days I’ll review the different features and accessibility of the site, including the footer, main menu, the new slider menu, and support page.
My first impression was to like it. A lot. But why? (I guess that’s the point of reviewing something–giving your readers an informed opinion of why you like or dislike something). Well, there are many new things on the site, but they haven’t reinvented the wheel; the changes to the site are a development of the existing site without confusing their visitors.
From the top, the new main menu is simplified version of the now iconic gel tabs (with horizontal sub-menu). My first thought was, “oh, they copied the new Adobe menu,” but it’s not really a copy despite their design similarities. The new menu doesn’t have a sub-menu riding along the bottom (nor is it a drop-down like the Adobe menu), but instead there is a new “slider menu” that appears on some pages (I’ll review that in another post). The new Apple page is 980 pixels wide, which gives the new menu room to spread. In addition, unlike the Adobe menu, Apple’s is image based for a consistent look across all operating systems and browsers. Look at that Adobe image to the right; see how the “Store” item wrapped? I’m sure it’s fine on a PC, but on my Mac the execution is terrible. The new Apple menu uses a css sprite, first written about by Dave Shea on A List Apart (in 2004!). I’m a big fan of sprites, have used them many times, and don’t really see any downside. Apple gets a big thumbs up for the sprites. The gel tabs were getting tired.
In the next couple of days I’ll dig deeper into the new site, talk about the improved accessibility for people with disabilities, discuss the choices they made in regard to sub-menus, and the increased use of the black background color.