Size Does Matter: A Quick Lesson in Screen Size
At the present time there is no good way to determine what size screen your visitor is viewing the web page from .This article is going to tackle how you use the size you choose.
Break down the screen space, on almost all web sites, into four basic sections. These sections are content, advertising, navigation and negative space. The advertising space usually consists of some type of banner ad. Because banners take long to download and might not match the web site design it would be ideal to get rid of them altogether. That is, unless the business model is based on getting most of its revenue from advertising with banner ads. Content is king therefore the majority of screen space should be devoted to it. Content is not just text in this context, it also includes design elements such as pictures and graphics. Include design elements in the content part of the screen space where it adds value to the page or site objective. Content is why a user visits the web site and should be the main focus. The ideal screen space for content should be around 90%. However this is usually out of reach for most web sites. Content area of the screen real estate should be about 70 to 80 percent of the total screen size.
Navigation is necessary on all web sites and should be well organized. However, navigation is not why a visitor comes to the site. In general many web sites use a large navigation section. Many times when we enter into a website we can feel that the main focus is on navigation instead of content. This is ok if the site is a portal, like Yahoo or Excite. The main point of the page is to navigate you to another point on the Internet. In most cases though, this is not good design and should keep the navigation under 15 percent of the total screen space.
Negative space or white space as many call it, is what guides your eye from section to section. Vertical or horizontal bars are sometimes used instead of the white space. In many cases it would look better and less congested by taking the bars out and leaving just the white space. For example this article is broken up by white space. There is no need for horizontal lines in order to break up each paragraph, as the white space does a fine job on its own. Also, a great plus of using white space instead of bars is it usually downloads faster. This space is an important part of the design and should not be over looked. The white space is necessary in order to break up the page by grouping sections of related information together. Depending on design, the white space can account for as little as 5 percent up to as much as 15 percent.
Work very hard to get the users to visit the site. Do not waste what they see on navigation and advertisements. Concentrate on content and the web site will be far better and more effective than most.
About the Author: Dallin Horneby is a design professional for a New York Web Design company. He has has helped to establish many successful online businesses over the past 10 years.