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The principles of web layouts

When you create a Web design, one of the many overlooked aspects of the design is the layout. Yes, a lot of people think about how to create a layout (which techniques to use), but the principles of Web layout are commonly completely forgotten.

Space and Whitespace
Use the whole space, but don't be too strict with it. That means, use relatively sized layout sections on your Web site, so that they expand and contract to match the browser window.
Remember about the resolution. While the most people have switched from 640x480 resolution, keep that in mind when you're developing a layout. Having clients leave because all that is visible is a logo on their monitor is not good customer service.
Apply color to separate different blocks. If you want to have a page of a specific width, why not center it in the browsed window and apply a different background color to the rest of the page. This will help your page seam to resize for different browsers; larger browsers will just have more background color, and smaller windows will contain less or none of it.

Images and Graphics
Organize your images. The most typical newbie layout mistakes is to put images into a side willy-nilly without thought to layout. If you simply apply an img tag and then put some text to follow it, you'll get the picture and a line of text to follow at the right of it. Applying the alignment will help make your images part of the layout.
Match the images and paragraphs on a page. It's really easy to captived with lots of graphics and animations, but they can make a page very hard to read. When you're considering your layout, don't forget that graphics are a vital part of the design, not just afterthoughts.

Text Alignment
Think about text width. This is usually named the "scan length", and refers to the number of words that are are placed on one line. Most users can easily read around 7 or 11 words on a line. Longer than that, and the text is hard to read, shorter than that and it's disjointed and distracting. When developing your layouts be certain that the main text area displays the text in a readable width.
Centering paragraphs is not recommended. One of the first layout techniques 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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