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The basics of web layouts

When you create a Web design, one of the many forgotten aspects of the design is the layout. Now, many people are figuring out how to do a layout (CSS, tables, frames, etc.), but the basics of Web layout are often completely ignored.

The use of space
Use the whole space, but don't be specific in your use. In other words, use scaleable layout sections on your Web site, so that they can be scaled to match the browser size.
Keep screen resolution in mind. As the majority of people have moved away from 640x480 resolution, keep that in mind when you're developing a layout. Having customers leave because all they can see is a title on their screen is not good customer service.
Apply color to separate spaces. If you want to have a page of a specific dimensions, you should center it on the browser screen and apply a different background color to the rest of the page. This will help the page seam to resize for different browsers; bigger widows will just have more background color, and smaller browsers will have less or none of it.

What to do about graphics
Align your images. One of the most typical newbie layout mistakes is to slap images into a side without considering your layout scheme. If you just apply an img tag and then put some text to explain it, you'll get the picture and then one line of text to the right of it. Using the align attribute will help make your images part of the layout.
Match the graphics and paragraphs on a page. It's easy to get carried away with lots of images and animations, but they can turn you page into a very hard to read one. When you're considering your layout, don't forget that graphics are a major part of the layout, not just afterthoughts.

Text Width
Put in some thought 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 people can easily read about 7 or 11 words in one line. Longer than that, and the text is hard to read, shorter than that and it's uneven and annoying. When developing your layouts make sure that the major text is displayed in a comfortably readable width.
Centering paragraphs is not recommended. One of the easiest layout tricks that a new designer learns is the center tag, and they center everything on their sites. However, centering is very difficult to do well and it's often hard to read.

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