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Solutions for the Five Most Common Web Design Problems

Nothing beats a book for in-depth problem solving. Check out the tips below to the five most common Web design problems, including page sizing, response time psychology, XML support, Flash 5 movies, and building server-compatible Web applications. All the tips come from books available at Computer Books Direct, the resource for technology enthusiasts.

1) Sizing Pages
Many users complain that fixed-size Web pages look too small on their monster screens. Relative sizing, however, can cause layout problems that users will always blame on the designer. In many cases, the best solution is to stick with fixed page sizes, making sure to center your page. This is a simple, hassle-free technique that reduces the perception of empty space on larger displays. For expert solutions to other Web design problems, see Web Design: The Complete Reference, 872 pages on creating Web pages that look great, navigate smoothly, and are easy to maintain.

2) The Psychology of Response Time
If you’re putting multimedia on your site, you had better know your audience, especially their bandwidth. Based on Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen’s research, any file that takes longer than ten seconds to download should be marked with its format and file size. Nowadays most home users have 56K bandwidth access, so any file larger than 50KB needs a size warning. In Designing Web Usability, Nielsen shares his findings, with extensive illustrations of the good and the bad, about what users love and hate, so that you can design pages and sites that are more likely to deliver a satisfying customer experience.

3) XML Support
Do your XML-derived Web pages look brilliant on all of your users' browsers? Probably not, since XML support is still relatively limited on most current browsers. For the time being, you should assume that you need to use output pages that can be handled by browsers designed to display plain vanilla HTML 4.0. Using XHTML, XML and Java 2: Platinum Edition offers more than 1,300 pages of smart, hands-on solutions for working with today’s most used Web technologies, including Dynamic HTML, JavaScript, VBScript, and CGI.

4) Publishing Flash 5 Movies
Nothing annoys visitors more than getting "file not found" messages from your Web server when they click on your Flash 5 masterpiece. To avoid this, keep all of your Flash 5 file names lowercase. Many Web servers use case-sensitive UNIX file name conventions and will be unable to find myMovie.swf when looking for mymovie.swf. Handy tips like this abound in SAMS Teach Yourself Macromedia Flash 5 in 24 Hours, the fast, easy way to get up and running with Flash 5.

5) Cross-platform Support
While developers have a range of tools for authoring interactive, data-driven Web applications, most force you to choose a server technology. With Macromedia’s new UltraDev 4, you can visually create and edit data-driven WYSIWYG Web applications on multiple server platforms, including Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP), Sun Microsystems JavaServer Pages (JSP), and Allaire ColdFusion Markup Language. SAMS Teach Yourself Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 in 21 Days will get you up to speed fast on the complete toolset and comes with a CD offering demo software and all the code and examples from the book.

You can get three books for $1.99 each ­ plus another book FREE ­ when you respond to this special introductory offer from Computer Books Direct. Getting started is easy. Just go to and sign up. This offer will be just the beginning of the great values you’ll receive as a member. Computer Books Direct is the resource for all kinds of computer enthusiasts, from aspiring power users to system administrators to full-time programmers. Find out more at

Note: This article is sponsored by Computer Books Direct

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