Designing navigation for an application

You can use the following navigational tools in your application:

  • An outline lets you create an organizing structure for an application and gives you control over how elements display in a navigation pane. An outline also gives you the power to create a sophisticated site map that combines text, graphics, and automation, and lets you combine database elements with links to Web sites and to pages, documents, or views in other databases. Because an outline is created from the contents of the database, it is easier to maintain than a navigator and is more flexible.
  • A navigator is a graphical road map that directs users to specific parts of an application. A navigator -- similar to a form, a page, or a view -- is an independent design element and combines graphics, text, and action buttons. Navigators can also be embedded in a form or a page. Embedded navigators have the advantage of combining a navigator with other form or page elements, and of letting you design a navigator template to establish a uniform way of presenting navigators in an application. One disadvantage of navigators is that once you design a navigator, it is usually static and can be difficult to change.
  • An imagemap is a graphic you enhance with programmable hotspots that perform some action when a user clicks on them. Unlike a navigator, an imagemap can reside only on a form or a page. You can easily combine an imagemap with text and other form or page elements. You can also control the display of an imagemap using a hide-when or computed-for-display formula. For most situations, an imagemap provides all the functionality you need to create a great-looking navigational structure for your application, but if you plan to combine a number of graphics and buttons, you might consider creating a navigator instead.