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I need to right an article/tutorial that has illustrations. The illustrations are not necessary, but are nice to have. They will help visually inclined people or people who just hate reading. How should I position the illustrations for maximum readability and comprehension?

Right align

                                         _________
"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur |        |
adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor  |        |
incididunt ut labore et dolore magna     |________|
aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud 
exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea 
commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in 
reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore 
eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat 
cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia 
deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Left align

_________
|        | "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, 
|        | consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do 
|________| eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et 
dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis 
nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip 
ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in 
reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore 
eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat 
cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia 
deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Left column

_________
|        | "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, 
|        | consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do 
|________| eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et 
           dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim 
           veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco 
           laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo 
           consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in 
           reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse 
           cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. 
           Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non 
           proident, sunt in culpa qui officia 
           deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

There may be other options. Feel free to suggest a new layout.

share|improve this question
    
While layout is important, there are simply way to many other factors that go into the readability and comprehension: the actual writing itself, proper editing, the typeface, the setting of the typeface, the line height/leading, the column width, the font size, font color, background color, margins, etc, etc. As such, it's hard to say with any specificity that there's a 'one proven way'. At times, forcing a visual 'rest' can even be a good thing. –  DA01 Dec 9 '11 at 23:50
1  
We can discuss the impacts of image placement without delving into typography and prose. –  JoJo Dec 10 '11 at 1:06
    
in terms of the articles readability and comprehension, no, you can't discuss one aspect in absence of the other. –  DA01 Dec 11 '11 at 21:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 0 down vote accepted

I think your third option would be a better approach either a left column or right column, that will give you room to even add captions for the illustrations without interfering with the rest of the article.

By personal experience, laying out a good article presentation is one of the most difficult tasks either in web or print output.

But because of many customer requests, images and text should not flow in the same column, it makes the page look over populated or crowded. But if you count with limited space that's another story. Also if is for web design and you have a column full of links for navigation then another column for images is not a good approach.

But if you have plenty of white space keeping the text apart from images is better, use as an example Wikipedia.org

Proper editing also is something you should take in consideration just for professional appear and credibility.

share|improve this answer

There are no one-size-fits-all kind of layouts. If everyone implements one layout for every web page, well, I would shudder to imagine viewing web pages at all.

I would strongly suggest you give a thought to each page and put your best into its layout according to its own merit.

Btw, "The illustrations are not necessary, but are nice to have.": No image can be unnecessary. For some readers, text is content, and for some, images are content, and technically, text and graphics constitute content.

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