Web Usability: Layout

While the homepage is your website’s face, the layout is how it looks. You want your face looking good, right? Let’s see how we can make this happen. We have already talked about design and content, and will discuss their sub-elements in upcoming posts. So today I’ll concentrate on the visual essentials of your website’s layout.

Layout basically consists of four visual parts: Header, footer, right-side and/or left-side panels, and a content section. Each of these parts should state their purpose.

You should take into consideration things that are different for each of your site’s visitors:
”¢ Screen resolutions, and how your layout will look in different resolutions (I’ll go into this further in a future post).
Ӣ Which web browsers the visitors are using, and how the site looks in each major web browser (also to be discussed in detail later).
Ideally the site should look, and function, the same on any screen or web browser – but unfortunately, in most cases this just isn’t possible.

Place the most important things above the fold, i.e. on the top part the page that can be seen without scrolling. It is fine if some other elements are placed below the fold and the visitor has to scroll down to see them – after all, if there is no need to scroll, the page might be too short.

It is a great idea to work with a ”templatized” site. By this I mean that the templates of different sections can be easily edited, removed, or added without affecting the general structure of the site. Most of today’s websites are created that way, both custom-built sites and those using content management systems (CMS). It makes the editing work much easier when your site is structured by elements combined together. It also ensures that your layout stays the same no matter how many different changes you are making to any section of your website.

Do not use too many graphics on your site. Texts and images should be laid out in natural proportions. Look at your favorite sites to decide which proportions will work best for your web pages.

In the next post we will talk about your website’s navigation. Until then,

Shavkat Karimov
Internet Marketing Manager
mobileStorm, Inc.
Every problem comes with a solution
SEO Manager – Consulting

 

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