Responsive theme with 3 visible levels in menu?

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    I am looking for a theme which can have three levels of menus visible at printout. Can I build that with any of the available responsive themes?

    I am trying to make an electronic manual for some equipment. The client want to have the manual in a print version, as well as available on monitors of different sizes. As this stuff is used at open sea it would be handy to have the instructions available on a Pad or a Smartphone. But in order to get the printouts working the menus  (or the hierarchy) must be obvious on prints as well.

    I am thinking of a look on the menus like the Enterprise Theme but with three levels (not a mix of pages and categories) where the options are shown in active-state. The client is stressing that the Sub-levels are important on prints. I was thinking of breadcrumbs but the client suggest a menu-solution, and only one place for users to orient themselves. I know a lot of menu-levels are a challenge for small monitors. Maybe the menu can change for smaller devices to a fly-out version?

    As the use of electronic devices are more common now it would have been nice to have a theme that is adopted specially for electronic manuals or instructions. (Hint, hint Studiopress). That could open up new markets for the Genesis-users. Such themes must not be very elaborate but with good solutions on how text and image will follow each other. And the video-option for electronic manuals is a big plus. But still we have to be aware of the need of printouts that can be solved via a special print.css.

    Reactions or suggestions are welcome.



    David Chu

    I had a client who burned a lot of brain cells and money worrying about how their site would print. The reason – wait for it – because she liked the way her same-town competitor’s site printed. We finally stopped laughing when we realized she wasn’t joking. So I made a special stylesheet for printing and made a little extra money. Actually, the whole site was lame because of their design requests. You know what… I’m thinking your client is probably just like them… engineers, right? :-)

    I can’t imagine why you’d need to see menu items for any manual page. If those are part of the description, and that helps someone follow it, then your breadcrumbs idea is good, much better than their idea!

    Beyond that, you could do something that I almost never recommend, but in this case it’s probably less pain: just make a bunch of PDF’s, and people can print them all nice and pretty. Sorry to sound snarky, but this whole concept is a straight line. :-) But at least you can make some extra money doing this, just as I did!

    Good luck,

    Dave Chu · Custom WordPress Developer – likes collaborating with Designers



    Thanks Dave for commenting!

    You know what… I’m thinking your client is probably just like them… engineers, right?

    He, he, that´s right. They are.

    Well, it could be a fix idea, but he also has a point in that they want to make the indexing figures (like 3.3.1) a part of the printed page in order to make communication easier, even for persons that are not aquainted with the stuff they have to use. An indexing system will also make it easier to give support. But I will also examine and see if this indexing could be part of the breadcrumbs instead. Now, I also have begun thinking of a special structure on the headlines, maybe beginning with the index. So there might be many options.

    When it comes to PDF:s we do already have them, but the client´s clients ask for a digital version for different screens. This discussion came because of that PDF:s are a bit rigid on small devices. I have a long background with QuarkXpress a software for layout, primarily for printed matter but now also for Pads and Smartphones. However, QuarkXpress can deliver Kindle documents, iOS apps and some more digital formats. But these documents are dependent on a certain OS or plugins to work. Therefore I began thinking in terms of a responsive web site.

    The client do appreciate my thoughts as they then can update one single source for delivery on different platforms. They must not ask me to do job in QuarkXpress any more if they get a solution that will meet their demands.

    Dave, I appreciate your suggestions as they help me think on many different options.

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