Re: Call to the graphic designers in you

Subject: Re: Call to the graphic designers in you
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: France Baril <France -dot- Baril -at- ixiasoft -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 14:50:59 -0400

France Baril wrote:

As a technical writer specialized in computer programming, I have never taken the time to study graphic design rules.

Don't look for rules, France. Look for principles (there are lots of good books and even more poor ones). Internalize them. Gaze at examples of pages that you find either attractive or unattractive until you can name the things that make them that way. Then practice, practice, practice. You'll get the hang of it.

But to answer your immediate question, it depends.

If the page is a single column of label-field pairs, I often make the labels flush right on the ditch and the fields flush left on the ditch. In html this implies a two-column table with the left column right-aligned and the right column left-aligned. The table has to be defined with zero borders but maybe 5 pixels of cell padding.

If the form is big enough that a two-column layout is preferred, then I think it is neater to create four left-aligned columns (labels, fields, labels, fields). To the extent that you can rearrange fields, it is helpful to have fields of similar length in the same column, for a better overall fit.

However, these are NOT rules, and there are many circumstances in which neither of these approaches is quite right.


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Call to the graphic designers in you: From: France Baril

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