First, a little history. My little top-menus used to be handled by a little Flash-applet. They were a blatant ripoff of the old Macromedia-style menus. If you wanna see what that looked like, check out Menu style #4 here.
It worked just fine, but it was limited to the number of menus that you could put on a single horizontal line. And I wanted my site to be as "flat" as possible, allowing you to the entire site from the top menu. I don't wanna make you drill down through a couple of layers of nested pages if you wanna play Confusebox and then read the blog.
And that, while it looks good, releases all of the browser incompatibility demons, especially regarding input. Firefox absorbs all key-up events, so any games I wrote that use those stopped working. IE doesn't absorb the events but instead passes 'em to BOTH the applet and the browser, so if you push the down arrow to move the bulldozer down, the bulldozer moves down but also the browser scrolls itself. And the new Safari beta absorbs all mouse-up events, thus making anything that uses drag-n-drop (like ChessCards or BaffleBees or Countdown Dice) unplayable.
And now I've found that it also absorbs all mouse-wheel events, which hampers gameplay of my new game.
So here's my newest HTML Commandment. . .
Thou Shalt Not use "transparent" or "opaque" for any Flash content that is interactive.
I ended up doing a couple of kludgy things to work around that, like putting a bigass noninteractive banner above the Bulldozer and Duck Tiles games so the menu wouldn't pull over 'em, but the whole situation's now just become more trouble than it's worth.
I do like the look, so I'll probably go with two rows of items under the bar. That should hopefully hit the balance between being able to get to the bulk of the site from one spot, not taking up too much vertical space, and NOT SCREWING UP ALL MY GAMES!
As for your homework, if you see any site menus that are compact and you particularly like, comment with the URL.