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The basics of web layouts

When you make a Web design, one of the many forgotten points of the development is the layout. Yes, a lot of people are figuring out how to do a layout (CSS, tables, frames, etc.), but the principles of Web layout are commonly completely ignored.

Space and Whitespace
Use all the space you have, but don't be specific with it. That means, use relatively sized layout sections on your Web pages, so that they expand and contract to match the browser window.
Keep screen resolution in mind. While the majority of computer users have moved away from 640x480 sized monitors, keep that in mind when you're developing a layout. Having clients leave because all that is visible is a title on their screen is poor customer service.
Use color to define different blocks. If you want to have a page of a specific dimensions, you should center it in the browsed window and make the background color of the page a different color. This will help the page appear to resize for various browsers; larger browsers will just have more background color, while smaller windows will contain less or none showing.

Images and Graphics
Align your graphics. The most common newbie layout mistakes is to put graphics into a page without considering your layout scheme. If you just use an img tag and then write text to explain it, you'll get the image and a line of text to follow at the right of it. Applying the align attribute will help make your images part of the layout.
Match the images and paragraphs on a page. It's really easy to captived with all those graphics and animations, but they can turn you page into a very hard to read one. When you're developing your layout, don't forget that images are a major part of the layout, not just afterthoughts.

Text Alignment
Put in some thought about text width. This is usually called the "scan length", and refers to how many words are displayed on one line. Most users can comfortably read about 7 or 11 words on a line. Longer lines make your text hard to read, shorter than that and it's uneven and distracting. When designing your layouts make sure that the major text area displays the text in a readable width.
Centering text is inadvisable. One of the first layout tricks that a new designer learns is the center tag, and they center all the content on their sites. However, centering is very hard to do well and it's often unreadable.

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