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Technical Guide


Site Structure


Page Layout
Page Length and Width


Formatting Text





Page Length and Width

The resolution of computer monitors can vary from 640 x 480 pixels, to 800 x 600 pixels or 1024 x 768. Most browsers default to 12-point type but users can change the default font size depending on their preference. Consider these two factors when designing Web pages. The maximum width of all page elements should not exceed an area which can be viewed on a 640 x 480 resolution monitor (see Figure 7). The Yale C/AIM Web Style Guide, by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton, recommends the following:

Graphic "safe area" dimensions for layouts designed to
print wellómaximum width = 535 pixels

Graphic "safe area" dimensions for layouts designed to maximize screen usageómaximum width = 595 pixels

These guidelines will prevent all users from having to scroll horizontally to view the entire page.

Keep the content of each page complete and restricted to one well-defined topic. Page length will vary according to the browser default font size (the larger the default font size the longer the page) and the user platform (Macintosh fonts appear 2-3 points smaller than the same font displayed on a Windows browser). Design for a default font size of 12 points and, as much as possible, try to restrict the page length to three 640 x 480 screens (see Figure 8). Very long pages will take more time to download, and make vertical scrolling more disorienting for the user. On long pages, even a small movement of the scroll button can cause a big jump in the content and make material currently in view disappear from the screen. Make logical divisions in the content, and link linear content using "previous" and "next" navigation.

Figure 7: Page Design for 640 x 480 Resolution

Figure 8: Three-Screen Page Length

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