CSS versus tables for layout:
When Netscape Navigator 4 dominated the browser market, the popular solution available for designers to lay out a Web page was by using tables. Often even simple web designing for a page would require dozens of tables nested in each other. Many web templates in Dreamweaver and other WYSIWYG editors still use this technique today. Navigator 4 didn’t support CSS to a useful degree, so it simply wasn’t used. After the browser wars subsided, and the dominant browsers such as Internet Explorer became more W3C compliant, designers started turning toward CSS as an alternate means of laying out their pages. CSS proponents say that tables should be used only for tabular data, not for layout. Using CSS instead of tables also returns HTML to a semantic markup, which helps bots and search engines understand what’s going on in a web page. All modern Web browsers support CSS with different degrees of limitations. However, one of the main points against CSS is that by relying on it exclusively, control is essentially relinquished as each browser has its own quirks which result in a slightly different page display. This is especially a problem as not every browser supports the same subset of CSS rules. For designers who are used to table-based layouts, developing Web sites in CSS often becomes a matter of trying to replicate what can be done with tables, leading some to find CSS design rather cumbersome due to lack of familiarity. For example, at one time it was rather difficult to produce certain design elements, such as vertical positioning, and full-length footers in a web designing using absolute positions. With the abundance of CSS resources available online today, though, web designing with reasonable adherence to ,;;’ standards involves little more than applying CSS 2.1 or CSS 3 to properly structured markup. These days most modern browsers have solved most of these quirks in CSS rendering and this has made many different CSS layouts possible. However, some people continue to use old browsers, and designers need to keep this in mind, and allow for graceful degrading of pages in older browsers. Most notable among these old browsers are Internet Explorer 5 and 5.5, which, according to some web designers, are becoming the new Netscape Navigator 4 – a block that holds the World Wide Web back from converting to CSS design. However, the W3 Consortium has made CSS in combination with XHTML the standard for web designing.
Form versus Function:
Some web developers have a graphic arts background and may pay more attention to how a page looks than considering other issues such as how visitors are going to find the page via a search engine. Some might rely more on advertising than search engines to attract visitors to the site. On the other side of the issue, search engine optimization consultants (SEOs) are concerned with how well a web site works technically and textually: how much traffic it generates via search engines, and how many sales it makes, assuming looks don’t contribute to the sales. As a result, the designers and SEOs often end up in disputes where the designer wants more ‘pretty’ graphics, and the SEO wants lots of ‘ugly’ keyword-rich text, bullet lists, and text links. One could argue that this is a false dichotomy due to the possibility that a web designing may integrate the two disciplines for a collaborative and synergistic solution. Because some graphics serve communication purposes in addition to aesthetics, how well a site works may depend on the graphic designer’s visual communication ideas as well as the SEO considerations. Another problem when using a lot of graphics on a page is that download times can be greatly lengthened, often irritating the user. This has become less of a problem as the internet has evolved with high-speed internet and the use of vector graphics. This is an engineering challenge to increase bandwidth in addition to an artistic challenge to minimize graphics and graphic file sizes. This is an on-going challenge as increased bandwidth invites increased amounts of content.
Accessible Web design:
Web accessibilityTo be accessible, web pages and sites must conform to certain accessibility principles. These can be grouped into the following main areas:use semantic markup that provides a meaningful structure to the document (i.e. web page)Semantic markup also refers to semantically organizing the web page structure and publishing web services description accordingly so that they can be recognized by other web services on different web pages. Standards for semantic web are set by IEEE-use a valid markup language that conforms to a published DTD or Schema-provide text equivalents for any non-text components (e.g. images, multimedia)-use hyperlinks that make sense when read out of context. (e.g. avoid “Click Here.”)-don’t use frames-use CSS rather than HTML Tables for layout.-author the page so that when the source code is read line-by-line by user agents (such as a screen readers) it remains intelligible. (Using tables for web designing will often result in information that is not.)However, W3C permits an exception where tables for layout either make sense when linearized or an alternate version (perhaps linearized) is made available.Website accessibility is also changing as it is impacted by Content Management Systems that allow changes to be made to webpages without the need of obtaining programming language knowledge.