What is consistent layout?
Consistent layout makes a website easier to navigate and understand because it is predictable. Consistent layout refers to any repeated blocks of content like navigation menus, links and buttons, lists, and more. It also includes common elements found across websites like headings, forms, and breadcrumbs.
Using a consistent layout helps create a website that is easy to use and understand for all users. It’s especially true for someone who is new to your site or accesses an internal page on your site from search results.
Creating a Consistent Layout
You can create a consistent layout on your site in a variety of ways by:
- Selecting an accessibility-ready template or theme for your website
- Using standard page templates across your site
- Creating a brand guide with details on how to style and/or code certain content types
- Using semantic elements like headings and lists to organize your content
- Grouping form controls like radio buttons and checkboxes
- Providing an option to skip repeated blocks of content like your top navigation menu
Templates provide built-in layout designs that you can apply across your entire site. For example, templates allow you to use the same main navigation menu on each page of your site. Along with other navigational elements like breadcrumbs and in-page navigation orients users.
As you develop and customize your site, make sure to use up-to-date markup that follows best practices and guidelines. Using a clear visual design also helps distinguish elements from others on a page. For example, using headings and lists to break your content into chunks provides consistent page layout to help users.
Impact on Users
A consistent layout helps users learn what elements to expect in order on a web page. This is especially helpful to users who are low vision or who are blind and using a screen reader. It also helps users with cognitive and learning disabilities orient themselves to the website’s content.
Check out the WAI Perspectives Clear Layout and Design video to see how it impacts the user’s experience online.