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Building fixed layouts: Lab

From: CSS: Page Layouts

Video: Building fixed layouts: Lab

For this chapter's lab, I want to do something a little different. Instead of opening one of my partially completed sites and then finishing it, I want you to create a fixed-width layout from scratch. Well, almost from scratch. There's a little bit of a catch here. I actually want to find one of your favorite layouts and then re-create it. By examining an existing layout and then breaking down its grid, you'll gain a greater insight into the planning and structuring that goes into creating sites. Just as the way of showing you kind of the workflow that I want you to do for this lab, I have the lynda.com site open here.

Building fixed layouts: Lab

For this chapter's lab, I want to do something a little different. Instead of opening one of my partially completed sites and then finishing it, I want you to create a fixed-width layout from scratch. Well, almost from scratch. There's a little bit of a catch here. I actually want to find one of your favorite layouts and then re-create it. By examining an existing layout and then breaking down its grid, you'll gain a greater insight into the planning and structuring that goes into creating sites. Just as the way of showing you kind of the workflow that I want you to do for this lab, I have the lynda.com site open here.

Pick one of your favorite layouts; it could be any site you want, or just a layout that you like. If it's a site that you can get into and kind of look through the CSS, that's even better. So in the case of lynda.com site, sometimes it's kind of hard to pick out exactly which CSS file I should be looking at. So you might want to try to find one that is a little bit easier to go into and look into the appropriate CSS, but that's not critical for what we are doing here. You don't absolutely have to be able to know what's going on with their CSS. So when you go to one of your favorite sites, just go ahead and take a screenshot of that.

Now I have taken the screenshot of the lynda site, and I'm dropped this in to an Illustrator document. And I know, I am in Illustrator again, right, but it does not matter which page- layout program you're using here. You can even print out a copy of the site that you're working with and then just sort of draw the things that I'm talking about on the screen. So the first thing you should do is find out what the underlying grid is for this particular site, and the way that I did this here was just place guidelines on the page, where it's obvious that a column or a gridline is.

I am looking and making sure that these columns are equal width so I can really determine what the grid structure of the page is, and once I do that, I then come in and overlay shapes where I think of the page regions. So obviously this is a two-column layout from the standpoint of the fact that I have a right column over here and left column over here, but the left column itself is broken into three separate columns as well. I needed to sort to know sort of the spacing requirements for those. So at this point, I would go in, I'd start taking some measurements, I'd start thinking about the initial structure of this page, and then I'll have what I need to create the initial HTML and CSS.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not asking you to re-create these layouts pixel perfect; I'm asking you to recreate the structure of these layouts and then place your own content inside of them. To that end, if you go into the exercise files, if you look in the 05_07 folder, I have a bunch of images that you can use. You can resize those images any way that you want to fit within your layout. Again, just make sure they adhere to the grid that you have established for that layout. And then I have a couple of text files. As a matter of fact, these are all Mark Twain's, A Dog's Tale.

There is a lot of text there that you can copy and paste and use for dummy text. I can't stand using Loren Ipsum text, so I am just giving you some old copyright-free, I might add, Mark Twain text, it's fun to read as well. So pay attention to the grid, what the grid is based on. You want to go ahead and establish a target resolution, which doesn't necessarily have to match the layout that you are kind of basing your site off of. And then when you get into placing assets in that, really concentrate on making the typography fit with that layout grid as well. Now when you're finished, go back to the site.

If you can, find its CSS. Compare your layout styles to theirs. Again, on more complex sites like this one, they might be a little hard to find the CSS. Coming through the styles and isolate and layout might be a little difficult, but you should be able to at least compare the basic structure and styles. In fact, you may want to do that stage before you get started, just to make sure that comparing styles is possible once you're done. Just don't evaluate the styles too much before you begin. The whole point of this lab is to see how closely you can match the desired styles. Keep in mind that you are only comparing styles just to compare and evaluate your approach to layout.

The overall goal of this lab is to gain experience in planning and executing desired layouts, not making sure that you're matching somebody else's files exactly. I know this is a big, broad, open-ended lab. Go have fun with it.

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This video is part of

Image for CSS: Page Layouts
CSS: Page Layouts

71 video lessons · 41462 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 4m 20s
    1. Welcome
      54s
    2. How to use the exercise files
      3m 26s
  2. 1h 39m
    1. Box model review
      8m 47s
    2. Calculating element dimensions
      11m 11s
    3. Understanding margin collapse
      7m 59s
    4. Calculating em values
      7m 41s
    5. Calculating percentage values
      7m 51s
    6. Normal document flow
      13m 3s
    7. Controlling element display
      8m 53s
    8. Using CSS Resets
      7m 11s
    9. Fixed, fluid, and responsive layouts
      9m 9s
    10. CSS debugging tools
      6m 46s
    11. Using the Firebug Inspector and the WebKit Web Inspector
      11m 5s
  3. 53m 15s
    1. Page design workflow
      3m 6s
    2. Page design tools
      4m 56s
    3. Determining page structure
      7m 18s
    4. Creating image assets
      8m 58s
    5. Creating initial page structure
      7m 3s
    6. Adding meaning with classes and IDs
      5m 23s
    7. Structuring content with HTML5
      6m 6s
    8. Building internal structure
      10m 25s
  4. 1h 36m
    1. Floating elements
      7m 50s
    2. Clearing floats
      7m 28s
    3. Containing floats
      7m 50s
    4. Clearfix technique
      10m 38s
    5. Floating inline elements
      14m 34s
    6. Two-column floated layouts
      8m 17s
    7. Three-column floated layouts
      11m 30s
    8. Column height considerations
      7m 3s
    9. Creating equal-height columns
      10m 42s
    10. Floats: Lab
      5m 25s
    11. Floats: Solution
      5m 21s
  5. 51m 42s
    1. Relative positioning
      7m 59s
    2. Absolute positioning
      8m 59s
    3. Fixed positioning
      4m 23s
    4. Controlling stacking order
      8m 31s
    5. Clipping content
      8m 21s
    6. Controlling content overflow
      5m 38s
    7. Positioning elements: Lab
      3m 59s
    8. Positioning elements: Solution
      3m 52s
  6. 48m 46s
    1. Design considerations for fixed layouts
      3m 28s
    2. Establishing the layout grid
      7m 57s
    3. Defining column spacing
      9m 30s
    4. Applying the grid through CSS
      8m 56s
    5. Creating grid-based assets
      8m 26s
    6. Grid design resources
      6m 22s
    7. Building fixed layouts: Lab
      4m 7s
  7. 44m 35s
    1. Designing for flexible layouts
      2m 30s
    2. Calculating percentage values
      8m 45s
    3. Setting flexible width values
      6m 6s
    4. Making images flexible
      8m 10s
    5. Setting minimum and maximum widths
      7m 24s
    6. Building flexible layouts: Lab
      4m 53s
    7. Building flexible layouts: Solution
      6m 47s
  8. 49m 36s
    1. Responsive layout overview
      3m 49s
    2. Using media queries
      7m 16s
    3. Organizing styles
      8m 39s
    4. Making content responsive
      8m 33s
    5. Mobile design considerations
      7m 32s
    6. Building responsive layouts: Lab
      4m 23s
    7. Building responsive layouts: Solution
      9m 24s
  9. 1h 22m
    1. Creating multi-column text
      6m 36s
    2. Using borders to enhance design
      13m 59s
    3. Rounding corners
      6m 56s
    4. Adding drop shadows
      10m 35s
    5. Working with opacity
      6m 8s
    6. Utilizing the background property
      15m 5s
    7. Working with CSS sprites
      7m 58s
    8. Enhancing page design: Lab
      6m 22s
    9. Enhancing page design: Solution
      8m 38s
  10. 6m 25s
    1. Additional resources
      6m 25s

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