In the seventies, IBM engineer Frederick Brooks wrote an influential book on software management called, “The Mythical Man-Month”. The book contains a great quotation that we like to share with clients who appear disinterested in prototyping and want to go straight to development:
“In most projects, the first system build is barely usable… The only question is whether to plan in advance to build a throwaway or promise to deliver the throwaway to customers.”
Brook's quotation captures nicely the value of prototyping as part of the design process. We're great advocates of prototyping and develop paper prototypes and electronic mock-ups for our clients to test out early designs with their customers. Recently, we've been impressed with Axure and the Firefox Pencil sketching tool as ways of quickly putting together interactive electronic prototypes, but we found ourselves spending a lot of time at the beginning of projects developing layout grids to place items on the page.
So Frédéric Vandaele and I bit the bullet and put together a series of grids based on the 960-grid system. This grid system works well for web pages that assume a target monitor of 1024 x 768.
The file contains grids for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12 and 16-column layouts as well as a thirds (and a reverse-thirds) grid.
Download Axure 960 Grids (zip file, 217 Kb).
If you don't use Axure but do want grids, visit the 960-grid system home page.
Need more help?
Attend one of our Axure training courses:
The file contains grids for 12 and 16-column layouts and were created by Frédéric Vandaele. If you use Pencil and would like a copy, download the file (zipped file, 4 Kb). (The file will only open in Pencil).
Download the file (zipped file, 4 Kb).
Using the Pencil grids
To import the grids so that you can use them in your own project, follow these instructions:
- Unzip the file.
- In Pencil, choose "Document > Open…".
- Locate and open the downloaded file ("grid960.ep").
- Choose "New Page…" from the right-hand side of the Pencil window.
- From the "Background" pull down menu, choose "12 cols" or "16 cols". (This locks the grid in the background).
- Enter a page title, choose a page size and then choose "Apply".
If you use Pencil, be sure to check out our user experience stencil for Pencil.
About the author
Anna-Gret Higgins holds a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Counselling Psychology. She is a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Anna-Gret manages the usability testing team at Userfocus and has logged hundreds of hours in usability tests of public and private sector web sites.
Web Usability: An Introduction to UX
June 10-11, London: Get hands-on practice in all the key areas of usability, from identifying your customers through to usability testing your web site. More details
Download the best of Userfocus. For free.
100s of pages of practical advice on user experience, in handy portable form. 'Bright Ideas' eBooks.
Every month, we share an in-depth article on user experience with over 8,000 newsletter readers. Want in? Sign up now and download a free guide to usability test moderation.
User Experience Articles
Our most popular articles
Our most commented articles
Our most recent articles
- May 6: My place or yours? How to decide where to run your next usability test
- Apr 8: The usability error you don't know you're making
- Mar 4: Adapting your usability testing practise for mobile
- Feb 4: What Russian dolls and Fantastic Voyage can teach us about designing for mobile
- Jan 7: "I want to speak to my users but they don’t want to speak to me"
Search for articles by keyword
- 7 articles tagged accessibility
- 3 articles tagged axure
- 4 articles tagged benefits
- 8 articles tagged case study
- 1 article tagged css
- 6 articles tagged discount usability
- 2 articles tagged ecommerce
- 3 articles tagged ethnography
- 13 articles tagged expert review
- 1 article tagged fitts law
- 1 article tagged focus groups
- 1 article tagged forms
- 6 articles tagged guidelines
- 10 articles tagged heuristic evaluation
- 7 articles tagged ia
- 14 articles tagged iso 9241
- 6 articles tagged iterative design
- 3 articles tagged layout
- 1 article tagged legal
- 27 articles tagged management
- 10 articles tagged metrics
- 3 articles tagged mobile
- 5 articles tagged moderating
- 3 articles tagged morae
- 2 articles tagged navigation
- 6 articles tagged personas
- 13 articles tagged prototyping
- 7 articles tagged questionnaires
- 1 article tagged quotations
- 4 articles tagged roi
- 11 articles tagged selling usability
- 12 articles tagged standards
- 2 articles tagged style guide
- 4 articles tagged survey design
- 4 articles tagged task scenarios
- 2 articles tagged templates
- 17 articles tagged tools
- 38 articles tagged usability testing
- 3 articles tagged user manual