Planning Kit for a Quality Site for Small and Medium Sized Museums

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Page Elements

The page structure of the prototype is divided into four distinct areas:

  • heading
  • main body
  • navigation bar
  • footer
elements of web page


This is positioned at the top of the page and contains all the distinctive elements of the identity of the site (logo, denomination etc.). The heading contains all the “service” elements such as meta-navigation. When images, such as the logo in the prototype, are used to create the heading, these should be accompanied by adequate text description.

Main Body of the Page

This contains the content information. It can also contain service information such as breadcrumbs, indices (secondary navigation) and contextual navigation. In practice, the body may also be considered as an area that can be further sub-divided.

Navigation bar

This contains immediate links to the entry pages for each of the sections into which the site is structured.


This contains the copyright of the Web site, i.e. the logo or trade-mark, together with information on the owner, authorship rights and the year of registration, a statement of responsibility, the date the page was created, the date of the last up-date and the URL of the page.

The four parts described above should be clearly separate so that users can easily see the difference between content information and service information. The latter includes elements for recognising the site, navigation tools, copyright etc.

All the pages of the site, except the Home page should have the same structure. The Home page can have a different structure as it often fulfils the function of introduction to the site. The various areas can be differentiated by appropriate use of graphics, in particular of background colour. In this case it is important to keep in mind the correct relation between the colour of the background and the text.

The page structure of the prototype was realised using variable geometry or “liquid layout”, so that the page adapts automatically to the size of the browser window and the character size chosen by the user. This technique consists of using proportional units of measurement rather than absolute measures to define the width of the page elements and the size of the characters used in the text.

The sequence of areas used in page structure should be as follows:

Heading -> Body -> Navigation bar

independently of how these are visually presented on the screen. This is useful for those users who use text browsers or browsers with voice synthesis. To realise this, the page should contain a navigation system that allows users without graphic browsers to move from one area to another.

© Minerva Project 2005-03, last revision 2005-03-06, edited by WP5, Committee for the development of a prototype of public cultural websites.
URL: www.minervaeurope/structure/workinggroups/userneeds/prototipo/progproto/architettura/elpagina_e.html