Considerations for LayoutNever, never, put a
slow-loading graphic at the top of your web page. The
worst error you can possibly commit with regard to web page graphics is,
unfortunately, a very common one. Some people put a large, heavy graphic at the
very top of the page. Frequently it is a logo, or it might be a banner advertisement
for something. This looks normal to us, since it duplicates the way print documents
are often put together. Letterhead stationery, for instance, usually has a big
graphic at the top. But don't forget that a web page loads from the top down,
and nobody wants to wait for that big graphic to load. On any page--not
just your home page--try to move larger graphics further down on the page or at
least align them to the right so the text can load first.
Maybe you're wondering
if I've violated my own rule by putting the navigation bar at the top of this
page. Actually, the navigation bar isn't a graphic. It's a table, and the colored
backgrounds are just colored cells that use the <BGCOLOR> attribute to color
only that part of the page. In fact there are no images involved at all. You may
want to review the tutorial on tables
in case you want to use tables yourself.
By the way, please align larger
graphics to the right of the page so your text can be read comfortably while
the user waits for the graphic to load.
Beware of fancy
fonts, dingbats, and exact positioning. It's important to remember
that different people have different options set on their computers. Their resolution
might be completely different from yours or they might have set the text to display
at a larger or smaller size than you are used to, and that will completely throw
off your layout unless you plan with relative widths and other flexible features.
A good technique is to try resizing your window a few times and trying out different
sizes to make sure your page looks okay even when it's displayed in a narrow space.
out for the temptation to include dingbats and specialized fonts. This too is
relative: the only font a user will see is the font that is installed on the computer
on which the page is being viewed. You might choose a cute dingbat that looks
like as part of your e-mail
link, and it might come out looking like
on the user's computer--not what you intended at all! Or you might have a page
set up so it looks great in Times New Roman, but the user has set Arial as his
or her default font.
By the way, if you're wondering how I avoided the dingbat
problem myself in the paragraph above... I converted the dingbats above into images
with an image editing program. Hold your mouse over them and you'll see that this
is so, and that I've added ALT commands to their IMG SRC tags. This is the only
safe way to use dingbats or unusual fonts. Obviously you wouldn't want to convert
an entire page of text into a graphic, but sometimes judicious use of a special
font as a title graphic can be very effective.
about the Rule of Three: The "rule of three" is often applied
to writing, speeches, photography, and even flower arranging. There's something
stable about the number three. The standard five-paragraph essay has three body
paragraphs. A list of items often sounds better if there are three. For some reason,
"He is smart, funny, and handsome" sounds better and more natural than
"He is smart, funny, handsome, and thoughtful," which comes off as a
little too wordy and effusive.
Even a three-legged stool is more stable than
a four-legged table, which is why we're always having to shove matchbooks and
wadded napkins under four-legged tables at restaurants. Go figure.
works well with graphics, too. An odd number almost always works better than an
even number and makes the page look more balanced, especially if the first and
third images are aligned to the right and the second is aligned to the left. I
suggest aligning to the right first, because, as I have been emphasizing, that
will make the text load faster.
No, I don't know why the Rule of Three works
that way. It just seems to be a part of the human psychological makeup.