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General Layout Question

Hi there,

I’m making my first build in WF and would really appreciate some layout recommendations of a simple hero section I’ve made.

  1. Does it look structured correctly to you?
  2. Am I using the divs and flex boxes okay?

My issues - It doesn’t load well responsively. I’ve made some adjustments but the text didn’t wrap I had to make it smaller. Overall I’m fairly happy for a first attempt. A lot more to go.

https://secondary-geeks.webflow.io/

Thankyou,
Chris


Here is my site Read-Only: https://preview.webflow.com/preview/secondary-geeks?utm_medium=preview_link&utm_source=designer&utm_content=secondary-geeks&preview=16988467fccbc643ce65b64e97ac9ac6&mode=preview

You’re off to a good start. I have some thoughts.

First of all, I want to begin by saying that it’s really hard to give any feedback without first knowing what you are trying to accomplish with the hero section. What is the first thing you want the users to see when they arrive to your page? What is your Unique Value Proposition and Call To Action? Do you have brand guidelines that can inform the direction for the design?

Here are some of my recommendations, in no particular order.

Start with creating an architecture for your information. Create a semantic HTML structure for your elements - navigation, headings, paragraphs, images, buttons, form fields, etc. This will help you wrap each element in appropriate HTML tags. For example right now your “Find Teachers” button is wrapped in a generic div block, when it should be a button.

Doing step 1 first will also allow you to name your classes properly as you move forward with creating the design. Currently your classes are what Webflow assigns by default when you make tweaks to the elements. This can cause some inconveniences down the road if you decide to reuse certain classes across multiple elements.

You do not necessarily need to wrap your text elements in additional div blocks unless you are doing that for specific layout purposes. The text element is simply a generic div block already. You can just add padding to it if you wish to create some breathing room for the text.

Try to maintain consistency throughout the design. For example currently you are using both light and dark shadows on elements. This creates some visual dissonance. Perhaps there are more effective ways to create separation between “We are secondary geeks” and the background.

I wouldn’t bother with animation so early in the process. I think creating a robust and responsive layout first is more important. Working with an animated element at this stage could make things harder to manage.

Pay attention to the vertical alignment of your elements. Your left and right margins vary between sections so the page doesn’t feel balanced.

I see that you are using fixed pixel values for all your paddings and margins. This is why things are not responding. Try using percentage %, viewport width vw, and viewport height vh units. They will respond to the resizing of the elements/browser window.

You are using Flexbox correctly. You are changing its direction to vertical at narrower breakpoints which is a good way to quickly rearrange the presentation of elements.

It is normal to have to reduce the font size as you reach smaller breakpoints. A headline on a desktop monitor will always be bigger than on a mobile screen. You wouldn’t necessarily want the text to wrap in this case, because if it did you’d have one word per line which creates a jittery reading experience.

Lastly, it is important to consider the context of the hero section. Will it contain any additional elements? What will be coming after it? This will influence the design decisions that you make. Which brings me back to my first point: trust the process. Start with information architecture, then turn that into sketches, then experiment using a quick design tool to iterate quickly between various options, and only then go into development. The reason that I stress this so much is because in the past I had lost many many hours by getting too excited and jumping head first into development before having flushed out the page structure and the design of tricky parts. Going directly to the last stage is how you end up with “technical debt” where making changes become a pain and the entire project suffers.

I hope that this was helpful in some way. I am not sure if I answered your questions. Feel free to message me if anything is unclear of if you have other things that you need help with.

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Hi @brnvdsgn,

TL:DR - Thank you for incredible feedback and saving me from technical debt. If one was interested in learning how to build this properly. HTML & CSS basics, semantics are the best place to start?

Firstly thank-you for your immense response. I would have never expected such fantastic feedback, you have a talent for it.

You’re right, my plan for the site was at best a series of scribbles in a sketchbook with no order. I currently use a website for my work… www.secondarygeeks.co.uk , which is a simple WP site I built as the client reference site I was given sucked badly. www.therecruitmentgeeks.com

Backstory in short, I’m a recruiter with a strong interest in design and graphic design, thinking about how I can expand my interest.

Looking at your feedback I think the USPs and CTA’s are more succinct on my previous site (secondarygeeks.co.uk). There are no brand guidelines, the prospect of designing myself is something I am really looking forward to digging into.

I’m in the process of revamping the USPs right now to direct the content structure for the page more clearly and looking into how to design…the design.

Thanks again for all the small elements of feedback, I’m really looking forward to diving deeper into WF and building something awesome.

Cheers,
Chris

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Thank you for the kind words, Chris. I am glad you found the feedback useful.

It’s really cool that you are learning design/development! I am looking forward to seeing how your project turns out. Please reach out if you get stuck on something down the line—I’d be happy to take a look. Being exposed to new problems and solving them together is a great source of learning.


HTML & CSS basics, semantics are the best place to start?

Level 0
In my understanding, the “source of truth” of any website is its content: text and media. So this is the ultimate starting point.

Level 1
The content is then “wrapped” in HTML to give it meaning. This gives data some structure which allows browsers, screen readers, and search engines to interpret it. It’s kind of like an architectural blueprint that explains what is what and how it fits into the surrounding context (for example, parent-child-sibling relationships between elements allow us to understand the hierarchy of the content).

Level 2
CSS is used to lay out and style the underlying HTML elements. This is where good design comes into play. But CSS does not have semantic meaning, and it does not alter the original HTML structure! You could write your entire article inside of an <h1> element and you could style this <h1> to look like paragraph text, but at HTML level it would still be an <h1>. As you can imagine, this would be really wrong from an architectural standpoint, even though visually your text would look like a normal paragraph. It’s kind of like using a door to make a window.

Level 3
I guess level 3 would be all the “icing on the cake” stuff like animations and interactions.


Here is a link to a post by @vincent where he talks extensively about how he starts his design process by properly structuring all his content and data. This makes a lot of sense to me since it helps avoid the trap of creating a bunch of disjointed and partially-styled parts of a website only to realize that your content would benefit from being completely reorganized.

Reorganizing content and modifying/reassigning classes is a huge amount of work and usually it’s just easier to start over. That’s why the process is super important. (In reality, the temptation to build something quickly or to make something pretty with CSS right away is so strong that it requires real discipline to stay on track! :laughing:)

Take care,
Artem

1 Like