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Chapter 2. Designing for the Web > Web Layout is Simple Layout

Web Layout is Simple Layout

Newspaper design takes a uniform approach to layout because newspapers have found that there are only a few ways to lay out content for maximum readability. For starters, there are only two basic newspaper sizes: broadsheet and tabloid. If we were to lay out the front pages of 10 of the world’s biggest-selling broadsheet newspapers in a row, they would be almost identical from a layout point of view. There would be a masthead, a lead story, several smaller stories, a large picture, some features running across the top, and perhaps an ad near the bottom. What makes newspapers different is not their layout but the stories they cover and how they write about these stories. The layout is almost identical. The difference is in the content. This should also apply to a website.

The Web is an even more limited design environment. It’s harder to read from a screen than from paper. The average screen page is much smaller than a newspaper page. In theory, you can have audio, video, and animation, but bandwidth restrictions severely limit these multimedia options. Within this limited layout environment, a small number of layout conventions are emerging.


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