How It Works
It's just coincidental that I was working on this book when WebReview.com was being restructured. This restructuring meant having to take a hard look at markup and structure. Some of the detailed problems I needed to tackle included the following:
Make the most of available screen spaceThe old site design was a fixed-width table, centered on the page. Three columns were then within that table. The look was a bit old-fashioned and cramped. The solution? Use dynamic tables.
Solve problems with site structure and navigationWebReview.com was created in 1995, and as it grew, it became like a ramshackle houserooms upon rooms with some rooms staring to fall down. The site really needed a navigation and structure update. To solve this problem, I reorganized the site structure and made the navigation global. I also put the navigation into Server Side Includes (SSIs).
Manage consistency from page to page more effectivelyHeaders were inconsistent in style and color; sometimes, graphics were used instead of text headers; and navigation was incredibly problematic due to the growth of sections. No consistent navigation existed on the site. Style sheets came to the rescue in terms of achieving consistency.
Incorporate advertisements effectively into the interface and solve scripting problemsA major challenge with interface design on a commercial site is how to place numerous ads on a page and still keep the content in focus. What's more, ad delivery often comes from external vendors who serve up their own brand of markup. Correcting problem markup and escaping characters properly when using XHTML helped to successfully address these problems.
Figure 3.1 Use a mixed fixed width and dynamic table layout to manage navigation, content, and multiple ads. The WebReview .com home page juggles seven ads.
Managing issues such as these is standard fare for the professional web designer these days. You must analyze an existing site and make complex decisions that will be matched by equally complex technology solutions.