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  1. #1
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    unbalanced column/middle content

    Weird subject I know - I couldn't think of anything descriptive for this - sorry.

    Here's the question...

    I have a layout that uses 3 columns (left, middle, right) - the 2 out columns are holding utiliatarian elements that are common to each page - the middle has the page specific content. This content varies in amount per page. So on some pages the middle column will be somewhat "even" with the outer columns in height - some pages, with less middle content, will come well short in height compared to the outter columns.

    What is everyone's take on this - does it look bad (read: unprofessional) to have the middle content come up way short - to where you have to scroll through empty middle to reach the end of the outter columns?

    Or ... is it acceptable. I do see this a lot on the web.

    Are there any tricks/tips for making this look any better if it is objectionable?

    I thought about truncating the outter columns on the pages that lacked the middle height... some material could be removed and a "special" shorter column could be substituted... :\

    Thanks for your opinions and advice!

    Dodge

  • #2
    Daf
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    I'm surprised you haven't heard an opinions on this yet... but here is mine if you're interested.

    I do think it looks a bit "funny" to have the middle "content" section take up less space vertically than the flanking columns - but it kind of depends on just how much less...

    Another thing is that if your middle section is fluid the content will move down as the page contracts - this will help distribute the content for those using the smaller resolutions....

    One thing that I really find annoying in situations like this is when the footer is coded to be even with the bottom of the longest column - in cases like you describe the footer could be separated from the content by a great deal of real estate ... it would be better to code the footer to be at the bottom of the middle div - imo

    I, too, will be interested in hearing more opinions on this.

    Daf

  • #3
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    Short pages?

    If you end up with pages that have considerably less content in the middle column compared to the "utilitarian" columns, you'll have to wonder about two things:
    1. Aren't my utilitarian columns a bit overdone?
    2. Is this page worth existing if there's so little actual content?

    Also be reminded that if the utilitarian columns extend far beyond the content column, there is a good chance that a considerable amount of visitors won't bother scrolling down any further, which keeps the lower sections of the outer columns out of view.

    Besides that, in my opinion a footer should always be at the bottom of the page. The page, that is, not the viewport/screen.
    Regards,
    Ronald.
    ronaldvanderwijden.com

  • #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronaldb66
    If you end up with pages that have considerably less content in the middle column compared to the "utilitarian" columns, you'll have to wonder about two things:
    [*]Aren't my utilitarian columns a bit overdone?
    Outer colums are not overdone - I've pared them down and they contain a reasonable amount of material that is "needed" on every page.


    [*]Is this page worth existing if there's so little actual content?


    I think it's possible to have some pages that have less content than others. That was the gist of my question actually.

    I have many pages that contain enough content to fill out with the outer columns - but I also have some pages that do not contain the same amount of content...

    An example would be a page that contains multiple questions/answers as part of an "Ask the ..." feature - then compare that with the "contact us" page that contains only a paragraph or 2 and a contact form. :\

    I was just wondering if I should tailor the outer columns to fit for the "shorter" pages?

    Dodge

  • #5
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    Example?

    An example would help, but are your outer columns roughly the same height as a full sized window in your target resolution? If so, I wouldn't really bother.
    A certain amount of regularity, in this case in the shape of the outer columns, improves the relative "likeliness" of the pages and helps tie 'em together as a site.

    I do agree some pages are just short by nature; you can partially compensate this with liberal use of white space. Again, I would have to see an example or two to really be able to form an opinion.
    Regards,
    Ronald.
    ronaldvanderwijden.com


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