Thoughts on Page Layout
you surf the web at all these days, you can see everything under
the sun...all sorts of flash, blinking
text (I wouldn't actually do that to you), pages that push
and pull viewers all over the web, pages that SCREAM at their
viewers and are hard on the eye. There are also a lot of very
well designed pages.
Before you start to design your own site, think about the places
on the web that you like to visit, and the pages that receive
a lot of visitors. Look at what it is about your favorite web
sites that attract you to them and keep you coming back to them.
You might find that some of the answer is in the layout. How comfortable
to your eye is a page? How easy is it to follow the links to navigate
around a site?
a few simple suggestions that might help you in designing your
first page or site.
know that I have a lot of backgrounds with images on them. Most
of those are designed for wallpaper or to display special images
or just for fun. If you have something important that you want
your viewer to read, try to choose a background that is uniform
across the screen and doesnít interfere with the reading of
the text. Backgrounds with a lot of high-contrast imagery underneath
the text are confusing and tiring to the eye.
If you look at some of my tiled backgrounds, you will notice
that they have a sort of faded look. I did that on purpose.
A faded look doesnít interfere as much with the text and gives
you the chance to add color and fun to your page without sacrificing
Another solution is to choose a simple background color, rather
than a stylized background. If the color is too intense, though,
that also can be tiring to the eye. Try to keep it low-key.
if you have text on a page, you want your viewer to be able to
see it. Nothing will get rid of a potential reader faster than
not being able to see what you have written. The color contrast
between the background color(s) and the text color should be high
enough so that the text is readable.
about spacing the text out. Closely packed text with no line breaks
or spacing can be daunting to a first-time visitor as well as
being tiring to the eye.
You can achieve this spacing in a number of ways besides using
plain line breaks. There are horizontal rules that are stand-alone
tags in html. They look like the line you see below and you can
add color and depth to them, though that doesn't show up in some
browsers. There are also bullet tags and numbers to draw attention
to your points.
are all sorts of attractive bars, buttons, and small images that
can be placed strategically on a page to give the eye a rest...and
lead into your next section of text, and many of them are free
for your use in building a personal web site.
If you have a lot to say, keep in mind that you donít have to
put it all on one page. If a reader is truly interested, he or
she will follow a link to finish reading what you have to say.
A good technique is to outline your main points on your introductory
page and let the viewers decide which links they want to follow.
You might also have noticed that my text doesn't stretch from
one side of the screen to the other. Text that stretches so far
is hard to follow from line to line. It is easy to shorten the
length of your text lines through the use of TABLES. A good table
width is around 500 pixels and will fit on most screens. This
page is a good example of the use of tables. Because of the border
here, I had to move the text over so that it wouldn't overlap
the flowers on the left. To do this, I created a table with one
row and two columns. The first column is for the border and the
second column is for the text. Yes, take my word for it. All this
text fits in one row :). You'll see when you get into designing
you start designing your site, don't expect everything to look
perfect all at once. Combine your elements and take a good objective
look at them. Walking away from it for a few minutes helps. When
you come back, it's like you're looking at someone else's work
and you can immediately see things that would look better if they
were placed "there" instead of "there".
Don't be afraid to try something new to you. If you find that
something just doesn't look right to you, think about how it WOULD
look right and start looking for how to do it. There is all sorts
of good help to be had in the web community. In the chat communities,
there are channels and chat pages that exist just to help with
problems you might run into.
And always remember, no mistake that you make in the designing
of your web site will cause your computer to explode. At best,
you can choose the "undo" option. At worst, you can start all
over again with a blank canvas.