Note to rabid CSS redesigners: your efforts aren't necessarily appreciated

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 26, 2003

Note to rabid CSS redesigners: your efforts aren't necessarily appreciated.

Reader comments

Jim RaySep 26, 2003 at 12:50PM

It's an interesting point - that you shouldn't be so condescending about people's personal/hobby sites as to redesign them - but I think it speaks to a minority of tableless redesigns. Most folks I see doing CSS based redesigns, like the excellent usability redesigns at 37 signals, focus on corporate sites.

These are ripe for commentary and deserve to be redesigned, poked and prodded. Proving to corporations that they are using outdated design methods to deliver inferior products is a worthy goal, I'd say.

So, yeah, stay away from people's hobby sites, save your vitriol for the next Microsoft.com redesign.

sjcSep 26, 2003 at 2:15PM

Can I just ask the underlying question: when, exactly, did the TABLE tag become anathema? I mean, I didn't get the memo - I presume that came from Zeldman - but I likes me some tables.

dtettoSep 26, 2003 at 2:45PM

You said it, sjc. I understand how wonderful and versatile CSS is and whatnot, but what is so wrong with a simple table-based design, even on a professional site?

Jim RaySep 26, 2003 at 2:55PM

I think getting into the "why not tables for page layout" discussion is a bit wrong for this particular forum, I will offer this. (If you want the "why", start reading Zeldman's site, maybe even check out his book. It's worth it.)

Tables are not an anathema, necessarily. They're still very much part of the spec, they still have a use. That use is for tabular data, such as you might find in a spreadsheet. Using tables to lay out your page is what is being frowned upon, for myriad reasons. Again, those reasons are probably best explored outside the context of this particular thread, lest it become as unwieldy as the Matrix review...

MikeSep 26, 2003 at 4:13PM

View source, save to disk, deep linking, bandwidth 'stealing', CSS recoding, blah blah blah. Folks, the web is no place for control freaks. If you don't want it messed with, please don't put it on the web.

aaaSep 26, 2003 at 7:44PM

Last I read, TABLE is compliant.

justinSep 27, 2003 at 8:24PM

aaa: Yeah, but there is also nothing really wrong with using your CD-ROM drive as a cup holder either.

Charles StuartSep 28, 2003 at 10:29PM

To: SJC and Dtetto -

Tables are worthwhile for some content, yes.

Real-quick-like though: Try redesigning a site built with tables vs. trying to redesign a site built with CSS for layout. With tables you are stuck in your grid, with CSS you are not. Simple as that. It's a choice. Ex: csszengarden. Guess it matters whether you want to redesign your site anytime soon or not...

And if you'd read Zeldman's new book you would get a real-long-like explanation. Or you could just peruse the web.


anonSep 30, 2003 at 1:49AM

Um... www.happycog.com anyone? Oh. Sorry. That's transitional.

To those of you who use keyboard based navigation to move through a webpage, three column page layouts (and some two column designs) built with css force the users to tab through left & right columns before getting to what is typically the meat of the page, the content, the center column. A small annoyance, perhaps, but slightly more aggrivating on a page like, oh, say, a google search results page where you tab through the "sponsored links" before getting to your actual search results.

hermanOct 03, 2003 at 3:56PM

i've designed many sites with a combination of both. we should just agree that using both "technologies", for lack of a better word, can give the sites we design it's own distinct look and feel AND compliant functionality, rather than that "blog" look that all these css site designers are offering. clients pay us to give them uniqueness in their presence online not a template to drop content into.

unless we are ready to instruct AND restructure our clients' on all technologies (updating browsers, installing plugins etc), we, designers, should design for their compliance. their compliance being; the CTO LIKES using his old trusty netscape 4.6 browser, the entire accounting dept. counts on their old explorer/outlook combination etc. if we can't absolutely change it, let's do our part to make it work.

Jonas!Dec 06, 2003 at 2:42AM

due to browser incompatibilities. i feel that table is still the better choice, for now.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.