The average web user may not be consciously aware of it, but all of the sites they visit probably adhere to some form of grid based layout system. If the presentation values are stripped away from the code that makes up a website, the content will usually still be displayed in a basic, one-column structure. The one-column structure should still be understandable and easy to follow, but is it aesthetically pleasing? Does it engage you or evoke feelings? The role of the web designer is to create a positive user experience and implementing a strong layout is one of the tools that designers can use to achieve this.

The topic of web layouts can be considered in terms of both aesthetics and psychology. A good design will combine principals from both methodologies to inject a natural order and balance in to a web page. The combination of methods used by different designers varies and forms part of a designer’s style. Some design layouts based upon strict mathematical patterns, while others are happier to create in a more free-from way, but the results should be the same. The aim is to improve the presentation and comprehension of the content.

I have chosen to focus on ecommerce websites for this essay. These types of site depend on converting user visits in to sales, which makes the success of a site highly dependent on the application of sales techniques. Therefore the layout not only needs to present content in a pleasing way, but also needs to guide the user through the transaction process until a purchase is completed. All of this can be facilitated by a good layout.