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Design preferences

Ok, with all of us having the new CD2.0 version to get productive and build great sites, I was wondering what other CityDesker's use as preferred options for their design:

- fluid or fixed page design
- fixed (px) or relative (em) fonts
- css1 and css2 or tables, font tags and spacers images
- usability and accessibility (508) guidlines or just fancy looking
- important to have w3 validated (x)html or not

For myself I like to have a fluid design, relative sized fonts, css1 for markup but still using simple tables for positioning. I try as much to follow the usability and accessibility guidlines but still try to give the page a worthwhile look. I'm not sure what I have to think about passing validation. Most big sites on the internet don't pass the w3 validator.


Michel Berkhout
Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Tables for positions, fixed width on the sides, proportional in the center. Font pitch set by CSS using px.

As few spacer images as I can get away with.

Usability is a consideration, and I consider all my sites to be pretty usable, and I'm usually aware when I'm doing something that makes it less usable, but accessability isn't something I always consider, but is if it's a requirement.

Don't really care about validation, my stuff is usually pretty HTML3 / 4 transition + CSS valid and I'm aware of browser issues.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I'm of a different opinion.

My site use no tables for layout, but rather CSS2. It is valid XHTML and I try to please accessibility guidelines (if it's not too much work ;) ). I don't use spacer images, but CSS2.

But this site also works perfectly in all browsers I've tried, using Lynx (text-based browser) and in my mobile phone's very simple browser.

I do have a fixed width of the page, because I like to have some control over the appearance of the text masses, but all widths and heights are set using relative units (em). So if one wants larger text, the width of the site is also made wider, to make sure that the site looks the same, only bigger.

The only thing I use fixed size for is borders, because I think they look better with a given size no matter the size of the text.

I suppose I'm a bit extreme, but I actually think creating standards compliant stuff is rather fun. =D

My site is if you wish to take a look at it.

Henrik Jernevad
Wednesday, August 27, 2003


I've taken a look at your site. Amazing what can be accomplished with pure CSS! Nice and clean design. I always understood that using css2 for positioning was bad for older browsers (no support) and that you should use all kind of tricks to make it work (eg faulty box model for IE5.0 and hiding stylesheets for older browsers by using the import option)

Have you also taken a look at the new site of Opera ( They redesigned their site with pure css.


Michel Berkhout
Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I've seen the new design, bud I didn't know it was CSS though. =)

Regarding support for old browsers. I don't know exactly which old browsers that doesn't render my page as it's supposed to (IE 2? 3? and perhaps some older Netscape versions as well). But.

1. Not many actually use these any longer. Almost every hit I get on my home page is IE5.5 or later, Mozilla (or any of it's siblings) and some other quite modern browsers.

2. *If* they don't read the CSS correctly, sure, the page doesn't look as good, but it can still be used. The menu will be first, the the content, and then the sidebar. I can live with that. =)

Henrik Jernevad
Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Henrik, I have a basic ignorance about designing with style sheets. I'm fair at stealing other folk's sytle sheets and changing some formatting.

What tools do folks use to do it? Do they all require brute force hand coding?

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I do most of it by hand.

I usually create a dummy HTML document that has the structure I want and link it to an empty style sheet.

Then I start to play with the style sheet (by hand, using e.g. TopStyle) until the page looks like I want.

Henrik Jernevad
Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I do like Henrik, except i'm still using mostly html, not xhtml.  Just a bit lazy to switch.  CSS works great with new browsers.  The worst being IE6.  Opera, Mozilla, and the new Apple browsers support most of css2 and all of css1.  I never used a spacer gif.  You can turn off styles for Netscape 4.x with a few different tricks.  Then your page looks very readable, but not pretty in that browser.  You can also organize your stylesheets to do certain things n4.x understands, but keep it away from the stuff it doesn't.  I recommend the Eric Meyer books or check out this website:

and the list that it is associate with:

Tables for layout can get extremely weird.  Most people who do it that way, think CSS is probably harder, but after some initial struggling, css is not so hard either.

Joel Goldstick
Wednesday, August 27, 2003

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