How to Use Sliced Graphics to Layout Your Web Site

Herman Drost
 


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The problem with designing your site as a graphic, is that it would take too long to load. Your visitors would leave your site immediately and move to your competitors web site. How can you resolve this?

Slicing graphics into a number of sections, then putting them together in tables is a great way to layout your web site. It cuts down on the time for providing a quick design for a potential client. It also allows you to bring elements of your site together that would be difficult to do with tables.

The value of slicing graphics

Reduces site loading time - a large graphic or many graphics on one web page will slow down your loading time considerably. Slicing graphics will allow each piece to load separately and at a faster rate.

Easy layout and design - web pages usually consist of headlines, photos and text which must all fit together to create a design that is aesthetically pleasing for your visitors. When you create a web graphic it always must have a rectangular space. You are limited to placing graphics and text in a rectangular form. However, if you slice the graphic into pieces, you can then place these pieces into the cells of a table on your web page.

How to layout a web page using sliced graphics Please refer to the example:

http://www.ihost-websites.com/SLICES/header.htm

1. Create a 730 x 600 graphic in your favorite graphic editor (I use Fireworks from Macromedia).

2. Import a graphic from the harddrive of your computer or from the Web.

3. Create a headline (insert text) above the graphic as a banner for your web page.

4. Switch on “Rulers" to precisely slice your graphic view - rulers)

5. Select the slice tool, and slice your graphic into 6 sections.

6. Save the sliced graphic in a folder in your html editor (file-export wizard-export-save)

Use these settings before saving your graphic:

File Name: header
File Type: html and images
HTML: Export HTML file
Slices: Export Slices

Fireworks saves you a lot of design time, by creating the necessary tables to hold all your slices.

7. Open up your favorite html editor (I use Dreamweaver) to view your graphic layout. You should now have 6 separate sections (slices). In this case I have the main header banner, the house and a large area of white space to hold the text in place.

8. Delete the slices (white space area) which have no graphics. You will now have 6 tables.

9. Merge together the tables where you will insert the text.

10. Add the text and whatever else you need to fill the web page.

That's it!

You have now designed a web page using sliced graphics. Remember this slicing method for your future web designs. You'll find that it's much easier to produce dazzling designs.

Tip:
Test the loading time of your web pages (netmechanic.com). It should be less than 10 seconds with a 56K modem. If it takes longer than that, slice your graphic into smaller pieces.

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner and author of http://www.iSiteBuild.com Affordable Web Site Design and Web Hosting. Subscribe to his “Marketing Tips” newsletter for more original articles at subscribe@isitebuild.com . You can read more of his in-depth articles at: http://www.isitebuild.com/articles

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