Professional Development Committee, Spring Technology Workshop
The Elements of Creating a Web PageHomePreviousNext



Whole site design

Page design

  • Page size
  • Layout
  • Backgrounds
  • Typography

    Color and Graphics




    Site map

  • Page Design -- Page size

    On the web, file size is the prime concern
    A page with file size or "weight" of over 70K takes noticeably longer to download. Set page weight dependent on how your users connect to your site (T1 = 120 K; 14.4KB modem 30K).

    Limit the amount of text on a page (between 200 and 500 words?); but keep in mind how users will use your page. Some will scan a page, then want to print it for later reading. If you cut a document into many small web pages, printing will be difficult. So consider offering the entire document in an alternative format that can be printed (for example, Adobe's portable document format (PDF) or Microsoft's Rich Text Format (RTF)).

    Graphics are the worst offender
    Use graphic elements sparingly and when you do, use economical file sizes.

    Pick a standard page width
    You do not want your user to have to scroll right or left to view the contents of a web page. If you use graphics or preformatted (<pre>) text, your page width may be wider than an average user's browser display. For Macintosh browsers, use 485 pixels as the maximum page width. For Windows browsers, 600 pixels should be the maximum.

    If you use an oversized, high resolution monitor during page design, you may end up with a design that looks fine at high resolution, but is far too big on your average 14" monitor! For Windows 95 users, there is a trick to resizing your display.

    Comments? Contact:
    Scott Britton, or
    Martin Hollick, or
    Julie Wetherill
    Copyright 1998, Harvard University. All rights reserved. Revised March 1998TopPreviousNext