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The basics of web layouts

When you create a Web design, one of the many forgotten points of the development is the layout. Now, a lot of people think about how to create a layout (which techniques to use), but the basics of Web layout are often completely ignored.

Space and Whitespace
Use the whole space, but don't be too strict with it. In other words, use relative layout sections on your Web site, so that they can be scaled to fit the browser size.
Don't forget about the screen resolution. While the most computer users have moved away from 640x480 resolution, keep that in mind when you're developing a layout. Having clients go away because all that is visible is a logo on their monitor is not good customer service.
Apply color to separate different blocks. If you need a page that's a specific dimensions, why not center it in the browsed window and make the background color of the page a different color. This will help the page seam to scale for various browsers; larger browsers will just show more background color, and smaller browsers will contain less or none of it.

Images and Graphics
Organize your images. One of the most common layout mistake ever is to slap images into a page without considering your layout scheme. If you simply use an img tag and then put some text to explain it, you'll have the picture and a line of text to follow at the right of it. Applying the alignment will help incorporate the images into layout.
Match the graphics and paragraphs on a page. It's really easy to get carried away with all those images and animations, but they can make a page very hard to read. When you're developing your layout, remember that images are a major part of the layout, not just scrap elements.

Text Alignment
Think about text width. This is usually named the "scan length", and means to how many words are displayed on one line. Most people can easily read about 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 make sure that the major text is displayed in a comfortably readable width.
Centering text is inadvisable. One of the first layout techniques that a new designer gets familiar with is the center tag, and they center all the content on their pages. But centering is very difficult to do good and it's often unreadable.

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