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Animated Navigation with CSS & jQuery

Created 11 years ago   Views 14338   downloads 3004    Author n/a
Animated Navigation with CSS & jQuery
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Fancy but a very simple technique! The good thing about this technique is that it degrades gracefully and is still accessible even if js is turned off.

Step 1. Wireframe – HTML

This part is very simple. Your typical unordered list with links.

<ul id="topnav">
    <li><a href="#">Home</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">Services</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">Portfolio</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">Blog</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">About</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">Contact</a></li>


Step 2. Styling – CSS

Only thing special about the below properties will be that each list item has an overflow of hidden to imitate the masking technique.

Notice there were no duplicate <span> tags in the markup in step 1. We will be adding that later with a few lines of jQuery.

ul#topnav {
 margin: 0;
 padding: 0;
 list-style: none;
 float: left;
 font-size: 1.1em;
ul#topnav li{
 margin: 0;
 padding: 0;
 overflow: hidden;  /*--Important - Masking out the hover state by default--*/
 float: left;
ul#topnav a, ul#topnav span { /*--The <a> and <span> share the same properties since the <span>  will be a duplicate of the <a> tag--*/
 padding: 10px 20px;
 float: left;
 text-decoration: none;
 color: #fff;
 background: url(a_bg.gif) repeat-x;
 text-transform: uppercase;
 clear: both;
 width: 100%;
 height: 20px;
 line-height: 20px; /*--Vertical alignment of text--*/
ul#topnav a{ /*--This is basically the hover state of navigation--*/
 color: #555;
 background-position: left bottom;
ul#topnav span{ /*--Default state of navigation--*/
 background-position: left top;


Step 3. Animation – jQuery

For those who are not familiar with jQuery, do check out their site first and get an overview of how it works. I’ve shared a few tricks that I have picked up along the way, you can check those out as well.

Initial Step – Call the jQuery file

You can choose to download the file from the jQuery site, or you can use this one hosted on Google.

<script type="text/javascript"


The following script contains comments explaining which jQuery actions are being performed.

$(document).ready(function() {

 $("#topnav li").prepend("<span></span>"); //Throws an empty span tag right before the a tag

 $("#topnav li").each(function() { //For each list item...
  var linkText = $(this).find("a").html(); //Find the text inside of the <a> tag
  $(this).find("span").show().html(linkText); //Add the text in the <span> tag

 $("#topnav li").hover(function() { //On hover...
   marginTop: "-40" //Find the <span> tag and move it up 40 pixels
  }, 250);
 } , function() { //On hover out...
   marginTop: "0"  //Move the <span> back to its original state (0px)
  }, 250);