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Help me understand this design model, please!

"Floating paper on the table" tables



4:03 pm on Apr 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm sure you all have talked this up before, but remind me, please: Why, the centered table? the webpage w/in a webpage look, with the ugly background color, not of my chosing? I'm sure there's a really good reason for this, but could someone remind me of what it is?

I can't help but want to be in the world of the place I'm going on the web, not have yet another publication, bunch of stuff, floating "ontop" of my desk(top), ontop of someone else's desk(top)!

I feel so removed and uncompelled by that design. I appreciate any insight and fighting back tips, as I fear this might be imposed on me in the future if I don't speak up loudly, now.

Thanks, in advance, for your advise!


7:03 pm on Apr 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The best advice I can give, if you are about to have an unappealing design forced upon you, is to launch a pre-emptive strike by building a mock-up site using a design you find more appealing, and presenting it to the people who are menacing you with the dreaded design dictate. :)

The floating centered table, IMO, is a reflection of the fact that humanity has been doing "Fixed Page" design since the invention of the stone tablet and chisel. Add that to the fact that many of the first (and still currently working) web designers started out in a print design (Fixed Page) environment, and you've got thousands of years of design wisdom, and decades of personal experience leading one by the nose to expect that everything must be arranged in a space roughly approximating some shape that could be turned out at the local print shop or granite quarry.

From a usability perspective, the site visitor has also likely had many more years experience dealing with printed materials than web-based interfaces, and is therefore more intuitively at ease with a Fixed Page style of layout.

To do more innovative designs, you have to be extra-super-duper careful to make sure your site navigation is idiot proof, insofar as that is at all possible, but if you can manage that part, I think stretching the boundaries of interactive design is the most intriguiing part about working in web design. It's the main reason I decided to start tinkering with HTML myself, but I admit to having a devil of a time breaking my own brain out of the Fixed Page mentality.

Good Luck! :)


7:06 pm on Apr 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member korkus2000 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I know that the people I use to see doing it were starting web design from print. They felt more comfortable with a 81/2 x 11 medium. The 3 X 4 ratio scared them.

Where I see it most is magazine and newspaper sites. The designers are print designers and want to keep the same look and feel of their publication.


7:21 pm on Apr 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Really, my demands aren't big, I just like the window to be a window, not a window on a window, if you know what I mean.

Is the reason for their use simply size/re-sizing control?

I only kind-of get the "from print design" thing, because in print, they, too, wouldn't want to be wasting real estate. I suppose they're now finally able to control the coffee table on which the mag is lying (though the choices here are often questionable) I understand control issues (believe me!), I just think in a world [read: screen] full of boxes, a box inside a box is kind of dumb and a bit cruel. But then, I don't like glass frames on drawings or paintings, either.

Thank for the advise, I'm considering inviting myself across the Atlantic for some development meetings.


8:08 pm on Apr 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

size/re-sizing control?

I think that's a big part of it. The idea of one's precise page layout sliding around all willy-nilly depending on the visitor's monitor resolution, or window resizing gives print-addicted designers hives.

OTOH, a fixed size/width floating in the middle of the screen 8.5 x 11 type layout almost guarantees that someone's browser/screeen resolution/font/etc., will render the page as an awful mess. If nothing else, using a freely-re-sizing layout could be pitched to the bigwigs as the best way to ensure the page is fully viewable on the largest percentage of potential visitors' computers.

Wouldn't want to scare anyone away with a layout that looked to wide, too narrow, or too small-fonted for someone's unique computer configuration, right? ;)


10:45 pm on Apr 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

TvED::Would you mind posting an example of the 'look' you find unattractive. I think I know what you mean, but I need a tangible picture.



11:20 pm on Apr 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

madcat, we try to avoid posting links on the boards whenever possible... Being a community of mostly designers and promoters, link swapping/dropping could become a non-stop promote-a-thon if we encouraged it. ;)

Thanks for understanding.

Just imagine a web page, with a darling background pattern partially covered by a centered, white-background, 700 pixel wide table full of content. A "piece of paper" (ie- the content table) sitting on a "desktop" (ie- the surrounding background pattern).


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