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Reading the structural elements of a site

From: Web Site Planning and Wireframing: Hands-On Training

Video: Reading the structural elements of a site

In this movie, we finally get to the good stuff, designing for the Internet. We have looked at the technical limitations of the web. We have looked at how web standards and best practices are an important issue to address in designing web sites. And now, we get to bring our creative genius and our design skills to how to create a great a web site. My theory is that are really only two pages that you need to design. There is the homepage and everything else what we call secondary pages. In this lesson, we are going to take some time to look at the structural elements that need to be on a homepage.

Reading the structural elements of a site

In this movie, we finally get to the good stuff, designing for the Internet. We have looked at the technical limitations of the web. We have looked at how web standards and best practices are an important issue to address in designing web sites. And now, we get to bring our creative genius and our design skills to how to create a great a web site. My theory is that are really only two pages that you need to design. There is the homepage and everything else what we call secondary pages. In this lesson, we are going to take some time to look at the structural elements that need to be on a homepage.

Taking a look up here at this info graphic. You can see at the top we need to have some page title. A way of identifying in a browser that this is the homepage. Typically, the next structural element would be a Header. This could be graphics, it could be text, it could be a combination of both of those but that's typically at the top of the page. Content is usually prominent but below the header, then at the bottom, this structural element is called the footer and contains another form of navigation and some of the Technical and Contact Information that needs to go on a web site.

Then the side bar, this can contain News items, it can contain secondary navigation, features, all kinds of things that you might want to make available to your user. If it's a 3-column layout, you will often see sidebar, content, sidebar, but get used to the idea that these structural elements, the page title, the header, the content and footer and sidebar will be used again and again. Understanding the structure will help you eventually start to the design the layout of your homepage. So let's get out look at a real world example. Let's go to the lynda.com homepage and see how these structures are used in her homepage.

So, Now we are in the homepage of the lynda.com web site. Let's see if we can find the structural elements that we have been talking about in the last slide. At the top here we have the Title page and it also has a bi-line. Learning at your own pace is considered to be a bi- line and the name of the company and the name of this web site is lynda.com. As we move down into the viewport, we see right at the top just as I described the Header. The Header in this case is both image and text and also includes some navigation. But the main area of this web site is the content area, it's prominent part and they are a lot of kinds of content that you can access in the main real estate of this web site.

Sidebars exist- there is really one, two, three, four sidebars and another one that I really wouldn't call a sidebar. But a sidebar usually contains two, three or more pieces of information that the user might want to go to, to dig deeper into the site. Remember on a homepage you are trying to seduce that user to come into the site and really explore it. Down here, we have more content, which I would call secondary content. And then finally at the bottom, we have the footer. Now the footer in this case is not a prominent thing but a necessary thing. It's often a required element by the legal department of the company. Notice that in this case, the footer is in a grayed text, whereas the main content is using red and black which is much more prominent. If we blurred our eyes, we would see the content area before we would notice the footer area, which is a great way to talk about the importance of information. So, as we are designing we need to think about what is important, what is structural and how we want to layout our page to invite the user and to see the features and to see the content that we actually have.

Just one more recap. There's your title, there's your header. Again, the main real estate is the main content. Some examples of sidebars. And as we scroll down to the bottom an example of the footer. Lynda.com does an excellent job of showing the main structural elements that should be on every homepage.

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This video is part of

Image for Web Site Planning and Wireframing: Hands-On Training
Web Site Planning and Wireframing: Hands-On Training

29 video lessons · 38644 viewers

Laurie Burruss
Author

 
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  1. 2m 20s
    1. Course overview
      1m 18s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 2s
  2. 11m 59s
    1. How the internet works
      5m 15s
    2. How a user connects
      6m 44s
  3. 8m 36s
    1. Choosing a browser
      3m 12s
    2. Installing the Web Developer toolbar and Firebug
      5m 24s
  4. 58m 59s
    1. Deconstructing a web page with a browser
      10m 22s
    2. Reviewing the head and body of a web page
      5m 57s
    3. Understanding the structural elements of a web page
      12m 12s
    4. Using the Web Developer toolbar to reveal the CSS
      6m 36s
    5. Using the Web Developer toolbar to investigate images on a page
      5m 30s
    6. Using the Web Developer toolbar to outline a page
      2m 5s
    7. Using the Web Developer toolbar to resize the window
      2m 43s
    8. Using the important miscellaneous tools in the Web Developer toolbar
      3m 28s
    9. Using the Web Developer toolbar to validate a page
      3m 31s
    10. Exploring a website using Firebug
      6m 35s
  5. 12m 20s
    1. Creating proper file structure
      4m 23s
    2. The eight commandments of naming
      7m 57s
  6. 19m 36s
    1. Reading the structural elements of a site
      4m 7s
    2. Reading the features of a site
      9m 8s
    3. Effective informational design
      3m 35s
    4. Effective architectural design
      2m 46s
  7. 29m 39s
    1. Setting up a project
      2m 43s
    2. Capturing a website
      2m 39s
    3. Merging the screen captures in Photoshop
      5m 22s
    4. Bringing a website into Acrobat Pro
      4m 39s
    5. Wireframing the structural elements of a website
      4m 34s
    6. Wireframing the feature elements of a website
      9m 42s
  8. 4m 57s
    1. A case study
      4m 57s

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