Page Layout: PEP

Layout refers to the dimensioning of content in a device display, and the delivery of media in a content related stream. Web design layouts result in visual content frameworks: these frameworks can be fixed, they can use units of measure that are relative, or they can provide fluid layout with proportional dimensions. The deployment flowchart (a useful tool on any design project) should address content layout. Many units of measure exist, but here are some popular dimension formats:

Pixel measure results in fixed or static content

Em measure results in proportional content that is relative to font-size

Percent measure results in fluid content that shrinks and grows to “fit” display windows

Proportional, liquid and hybrid layout are also referred to as dynamic design. Hybrid layout incorporates any combination of fixed, proportional or fluid elements within (or pointing to) a single page. The hybrid web design framework is made possible by digital internet conventions generally prescribed by the W3C. If any layout does not appear as it should, it is very likely that it does not conform to standard design principles, or that those standards conflict with standard layout elements. Current knowledge of standards is essential to effective hybrid design.

The earliest web pages used fixed layouts without exception. In many business pages fixed layouts are preferred today as they easily contain static tabled information. Fixed layout enforces device display convention, as viewers must set their display to at least a certain width to easily view content. This width can include display of corporate logos, cautions, advertisements and any other target content. Design frameworks for fixed layout may need to include coding for multiple display devices.
Hybrid design maintains most static content control, but is adapted to textual publishing, and for readers, to conventional (printed) display. Hybrid layouts are generally easy on the eye and are found on most sites that distribute traditional images and text to readers. For some sites, hybrid design makes an otherwise cold text column appear warm and balanced. A good example of hybrid layout is WordPress, where liquid design is now optional, and movie and auditory media is stretching the envelope.
Fluid design is useful where content is delivered to an ‘unknown device’ population. Appropriate liquid code displays images, text and spaces proportional to display size. Someone with a handheld can see view and interact with the same content as someone using a large desktop monitor. However, scaling of content for a variety of devices has more recently evolved with modern web browsers, allowing users to see the same layout across all devices. The above material (text and image) was taken from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_design

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