This layout demonstrates a way to use FreeForm's Builder'B' ''Join with Text'' option for Picture Input Areas to create a header with a different color than the overall background. That combined with using two columns below the join provides for the Gallery Input Area on the right (set to use the same background) to appear attached to the header.
The overall effect simulates eBay's 'Listing Frame' option for eBay Store (Shop) owners except the links are on the right. It's actually a little better than eBay's because the two column arrangement does not need to extend all the way down the presentation which provides room for larger photos if desired.
Notes: FreeForm's Gallery Input Areas can be used to present a list of category links displayed as text or images. Descriptive links need to be displayed as images to avoid violating eBay's keyword spamming policies.
Although they may not appear to be so, all the 'Category Name Here' text you see above are images I created using the button maker tool at cooltext.com.
When creating your own text buttons start with the longest text you will need to show, get that looking right, then create all the other buttons with the exact same width and height of the first one. For this exact presentation that width would need to be 170 pixels or less.
Space over here can instead or also be used for any other types of message you may want to get across to your shoppers. Small pictures too if you like.
As with all the sample starter templates you are free to change colors, re-arrange content, add or remove content, use your own graphics and backgrounds, etc. The samples are intended to inspire you with ideas and to demonstrate different types of layouts you can create using FreeForm. You are not required or expected to use them exactly as they are set up here.
When it comes down to it you can also depend on Rob for assistance with details such as creating links and fine tuning arrangements. FreeForm includes the ability to save everything you create within FreeForm itself. That enables sharing what you are working on with Rob who can then access and help 'hands on' to achieve what you desire.
FreeForm only produces HTML known to be compatible with eBay. That combined with Rob's 10 years experience helping eBay sellers and FreeForm's wonderful flexibility virtually guarantees learning to use FreeForm will be time well spent.
Here the convenient join with text feature of Picture Input Areas is used to display text to the right of a photo.
The join feature provides for setting a percentage width to the photo / text combo and in this case was set to 90% to provide a left and right margin.
In the long run, more important than the capability to create templates, FreeForm provides a convenient interface for using what you have created.
As you build individual item descriptions or web pages you can alter your layouts 'on the fly' to accommodate more or less photos, more or less text areas. Replace, add, remove, anything desired while leaving the parts that do not need to be altered alone. All without having to learn or edit HTML.
This Text Input Area is sized at 750 pixels, a width at which paragraphs of text are easy to read. 750 pixels is also a width that will fit on virtually every shopper's screen so it is good to limit interior content of your layouts, including photos, to no more than 750 pixels wide. Assigning a width to Text Input Areas also provides a margin on the left and right to prevent it from bumping into the frame.
If a layout like this will be used on eBay consider assigning an overall width of 940 pixels up in Global Features to make it work well in eBay's new selling page expected to be launched early 2009.
You can leave placeholders in your templates by inserting any type of Input Area at any location without entering anything into it. Rather than continuously inserting or removing Input Areas you may just blank out the entry areas and FreeForm ignores them in Preview and when producing the HTML results.
With FreeForm you may also alter the size and formatting of text as desired including using a WYSIWYG interface to formatindividualwords as needed.
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Notes: FreeForm's Gallery Input Areas can be used to construct a gallery with a scroll bar such as above. The photos shown can be linked to individual items but doing so usually isn't practical because the gallery won't automatically update to add new items or remove sold items. It is suggested instead that each and all simply link to eBay's page where all your current items are shown. If you own an eBay store you could narrow that down to a store category. Less reliably links can also be constructed using eBay search by seller / eBay category results (ask Rob if this is something you'd be interested in).
For an automatically updating gallery it is required to use a third party service such as Auctiva or Vendio. Those services, provide the option to automatically add a gallery to your eBay listings (under or above them) or you can disable the automatic and instead use code they provide which can go into a FreeForm Code Input Area to display it exactly where you want. Beliw is one created using auctionpixie.co.uk