On Layout

Layout is one of the more subtle aspects of designing for the web. It's good to think of layout in terms of boxes that contain separate sections of the site. By "sections" I don't mean categories, or subjects covered by the site. The sections are areas where different things are happening.

In one area you have the name of your site, and maybe a tag line that goes with it. In another you have a menu that leads other parts of you site. There is usually always a main section where the real heart of that page resides. It is this section that changes when the visitor moves from page to page within your site.

In a more complex site, there may even be a fourth section--perhaps an area where there are advertisements, or special announcements. And maybe even a fifth for a blog.

The main thing to keep in mind about these sections is that they be clearly distinguishable from one another. And, even if some sections do not get repeated on all pages, the ones that do should be repeated in the same place. This aids in keeping a visitor focused and in making sure they don't get lost or confused.

The page you reading now is clearly demarcated. I've even used borders to emphasize the sections. But you can demarcate with vertical borders or colors just as well.

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