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Chapter 20. Understanding the Dynamic We... > Understanding Layout on the Web - Pg. 452

Understanding the Dynamic Web 452 · Make changes clear. --We often do not notice changes in our environment, even when they occur right in front of our faces. Changes in the content of a Web page generally should be initiated by the visitor, should occur almost instantly, and should be easy to recognize. · Provide a sense of location and direction. --One common complaint about the Web is that it's easy to get lost. Compared with the real world, where we can turn to see where we came from and look ahead to see what is next, most Web pages seem to be very insular. Use DHTML to let visitors know where they came from and where they are going. · Direct, don't dictate. --The point of a Web site is to allow visitors to move freely within the content. As the author and designer, you want to direct visitors to the information you want them to see but simultaneously allow them to follow their own paths. In terms of what you are communicating to your audience, the links that you do or do not include in a Web page are as important as the words and graphics you put there. Think of yourself as a guide, not a tyrant. Understanding Layout on the Web Because of the Web's expandable windows, unpredictable screen resolutions, and variable font sizes, you have a better chance of predicting the price of Internet stocks than the final appearance of your Web design. You know that your design must fit into a rectangle (the browser window), but will that rectangle be wide and long enough? All Web designers must start their designs by deciding which of the four main layout styles they will use. All Web layouts have two basic parts. The first part is the content area, which features navigation, titles, graphics, and text--in other words, the stuff visitors are interested in. The other part is filler. Whether the filler is just empty space or a design that fills the void, it is there simply to absorb extra