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The basics of web layouts

When you make a Web design, one of the more forgotten aspects of the design is the layout. Now, many people think about how to do a layout (which techniques to use), but the principles of Web layout are often completely ignored.

How to use your space
Use all the space you have, but don't be specific with it. In other words, use scaleable layout parts on your Web pages, so that they expand and contract to fit the browser window.
Don't forget about the screen resolution. While the most people have moved away from 640x480 resolution, keep that in mind when you're designing. Having clients leave because all they can see is a logo on their screen is poor customer service.
Use color to define different blocks. If you need a page of a specific dimensions, you should center it on the browser screen and make the background color of the page a different color. This will make the page seam to scale for different browsers; bigger widows will simply show more background color, and smaller windows will contain less or none showing.

Images and Graphics
Align your graphics. The most typical newbie layout mistakes is to slap images into a side willy-nilly without thought to layout. If you just use an img tag and then write text to explain it, you'll get the picture and a line of text to follow at the right of it. Using the alignment will help make your images part of the layout.
Balance the images and text on a page. It's really easy to get carried away with lots of images and animations, but they can make a page very hard to read. When you're developing your layout, don't forget that graphics are a major part of the design, not just afterthoughts.

Text Width
Think about text width. This is usually named the "scan length", and refers to the number of words that are are displayed on one line. In general users can comfortably read around 7 to 11 words on a line. If the lines are longer then that the text becomes hard to read, shorter than that and it's disjointed and distracting. When designing your layouts be certain that the major text is displayed in a comfortably readable width.
Centering paragraphs is inadvisable. One of the easiest layout techniques that a new designer gets familiar with is the center tag, and they center all the content on their pages. However, centering is very hard to do good and it's often hard to read.

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