Why You Should be Designing with CSS
I do sometimes reminisce in the older web: simple web pages, no adverts, new technologies arriving every week and the cringeworthy sound of old dial-up modems. Back then website design barely existed, and at most was just a jumble of pictures and text floating randomly on the screen. But then tables came along, and web design was born. Now designers can arrange the elements where they want them to be, websites began to flourish.
Ten years later, and website design has come a long way. Every year website design is reinvented as new technologies push the possibilities of the web further. We can now stream 1080p video, view photo albums and play games all within our web browser. These powerful technologies need to be based on reliable design techniques. This means we have to say goodbye to our old table technology for design, but some people seem to have been left in the past.
Many web designers that have been designing websites longer than I have been alive still use tables to structure their websites. I nearly cry when I see a table based website, but you may ask, why is it such a bad thing? Well…
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a technique of optimising websites so they can be found with greater ease in search engines. These search engines use complicated algorithms which evaluate website content and then index it in their databases. If a search engine indexes your site that has tables, it will misinterpret the data causing your page ranking to suffer.
Table design has been dead for years now, and CSS has been adopted as the styling standard. This means that your websites will look best with CSS, for example all of the latest browsers support technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3.
CSS is not normally embedded within the page unlike table code. Often a single stylesheet is referenced externally from all pages in a website. Meaning that the file doesn’t have to be re-downloaded every time the page changes.
CSS is evolving, all the time! CSS offers a plethora of features, some of which tables lack. You can create endless innovative and creative designs in CSS, unlike in tables where you will find yourself alarmingly limited.
Well, yes, there is a disadvantage to CSS. Tables are far easier to use, however if you are willing to spend time learning the basics of CSS, then tables will seem like a thing of the past (which they are).