a Web Page
After doing research and assembling a body of knowledge to communicate on the World Wide Web and after learning HTML, the student is ready to consider web page design and how to produce an effective site.
When designing a web page, first determine how to create lines on the page or blocks of information for the reader to follow. In other words, align the various elements of the page so that it does not look like a jumbled or disorganized collection of disjointed information. For example, contrast an aligned page, "A Portriat of a People" title page, with an unaligned page. The content is the same, but the pages do not project the same image. (Note how central the image is to the content, as well as the design, of the aligned page.) When the page elements do not fill the screen, balance the blank areas, the white space. Look again at the large amount of blank space on the "Portrait of a People" page. View another example. (Note on examples)
Second, use complementary backgrounds and avoid distracting backgrounds. This guidelines does not exclude the use of a creative background. It simply means that the background of a page should match its content. If in doubt, a solid background is probably the best choice. The Sam Adams propaganda page, part of "Portrait of a People," uses a parchment-like background to accentuate the content, Sam Adams's writings. On the other hand the contents page on the "Portrait of a People" site uses the same image for its background as was used to set the tone for the title page.
Third, when delivering an essay or other long piece of text, limit the width of text and always use left justified paragraphs. Long text widths ranging from one side of the screen to the other are hard to read. The same is true of center justified paragraphs. Look at the shortened paragraph on the "Portrait of a People" title page. Note that the text width is very short, contrasted with the poor alignment example.1
Lastly, use images or sounds or video to add more detail to content. Of course, if an image is not available then a verbal description is required. Images add a visual/conceptual impression to a site as well. Recall the "Portrait" title page, where the image, at the center of the screen, set the tone. View the Paul Cuffe page and the only image the students could find of the colonial merchant, then consider the image in light of the link titled, "Finding an identity."
In short, follow these four page design guidelines: align the various elements of the page, use complementary backgrounds, limit the width of text and always use left justified paragraphs, use images or sounds or video to add more detail to content.