A WEBSITE, part 6
dealt with the basic dos and don’ts of web page design it’s time to get down to
the nitty-gritty. If you have elected to use a standard off the shelf template
most of the work has already been done for you and all you have to do is fill
in the blanks or change text and images from the supplied defaults.
quick and easy and with the available font and colour customisations it’s
possible to produce something quite distinctive -- bearing in mind what I said
in part 5 about not overdoing it -- however, unless you make changes to the
actual layout it will still look like a lot of other sites. The solution is to
change the template by moving things around or deleting them, and adding your
own personal touches.
to do that it helps to know a little about the mechanics of web page construction.
It can get very involved but for newcomers and the sake of simplicity it all
boils down to Frames and Tables. In fact I would avoid Frames because they can
be tricky customers, so we’ll focus our attention on tables, which are the
basic building blocks of many web sites (including this one). They are quick
and easy to use, very flexible and unlikely to cause problems when displayed on
different browsers and platforms.
are familiar with the table feature in Word then you will find web page tables
very easy to use. Essentially a table is one or more linked boxes into which
you can put text, pictures, graphics or anything else you want to appear on
your web page. Tables give a web page a
structure or framework and make it easier to develop a theme or template that
can be used across all of the pages in a web site. If you are concerned that
tables will impose a rigid box like structure on a web page there’s no need to
worry. The table borders and outlines can be made invisible so they do not show
up but they continue to anchor the page elements, so they appear exactly where
you want them to be, and stay there.
have never used a table before and you have Word on your PC them it’s worth
spending a few minutes playing around with one, to get a feel of how it works
and what they can do.
go to New on the File menu select the General Tab and click Web Page. A blank
page with a flashing cursor appears, move the mouse pointer to the Table icon
(a little over halfway along the Standard toolbar -- it looks like a little
table) and a grid will be displayed. Notice if you click, hold and drag the
bottom right hand square you can expand and reduce the size of the grid,
however, for now just create a simple table comprising three vertical columns
and two horizontal rows (2 x 3 Table) by highlighting the appropriate number of
squares (i.e. 3 across by 2 down) and a table appears on the page with a
flashing cursor in the top left hand box or ‘cell’.
now tap away on the keyboard you will find the cell expands to accommodate the
text, both horizontally and vertically (if you hit the Return key). Note that
all of the usual word processing options are available so you can specify the
font, size, style and colour of the characters you’ve entered.
have keyed in a few lines in the first cell highlight the block of text, click,
hold and drag it into another cell and the cell will change size to accommodate
the pasted text. Now hold down the Ctrl key and do it again and this time
you’ll see you can copy blocks of text into other cells -- handy for creating
templates. Here’s something else to try; move the mouse pointer so that it is
over the border or column or row separator lines. The pointer changes to a pair
of parallel bars and you’ll find you can click and drag the lines to change the
shape of the table or the cells it contains. Here’s another trick worth remembering.
Highlight two adjacent cells -- it doesn’t matter if they’re side by side or on
top of one another -- then go to the Table menu and select Merge Cells. The two
highlighted cells now become one. You can also Split a highlighted cell on the
same menu with the option to divide a cell vertically or horizontally.
have got the hang of creating, sizing, merging and splitting cells you can try
your hand at positioning text and images within a cell so that it looks
presentable. Options vary but normally you can highlight the text block or
graphic and use the centre or align tools to move the item around.
Alternatively you can use paragraph formatting controls to put spaces before or
in front of the element you are positioning, to move it away from the table
outlines. Better still; make the borders of the table invisible, so the text or
graphic appears to float on the page (but remain within the confines of it’s
now invisible cell). Table borders can be ‘hidden’ or disguised by making the
lines the same colour as the background.
table tip concerns background colours and shading and in Word and most web
authoring programs this is accomplished by highlighting the cells or tables you
want to change then right click into the highlighted cell(s) the context menu
that appears will usually have a Properties or Borders’s & Shading option
that lets you apply colour, texture or background images to the chosen cells or
can free you from the constraints of a template and allow you to radically
alter the design and appearance of a web page to suit your needs and once you’ve
got used to how they work you might want to use them to create your own web
pages from scratch.
Part 7 -- Hyperlinks
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