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Re: [css-d] What happened to design?

Sent by Matthew Haughey on 25 January 2002 16:04


At 03:54 PM 1/25/2002 -0500, Joshua Kaufman wrote:
>Is anyone else using CSS like this?  Will strong use of CSS bring about
>a new standard of design?  I'm interested in hearing other thoughts.

I think the lag and lack of innovation is just a slow warming to the new 
technology. We're all stumbling around in the dark here (why else did so 
many people sign up to be on this list?), trying to make sense of what the 
new toolset offers us.

Typically I design mockups in photoshop, without too much thought about how 
I'll build it. When it comes to coding the layout, that's where the problem 
lies. You have to wrap your head around the box model and the various 
implementations among browsers, then think about the hacks that are 
possible and available (we seem to be discovering new ones daily) to get 
your mockup looking as close to an actual webpage as possible.

Here are a couple mockups I did in the past, that I would deem difficult to 
layout on the web.
http://haughey.com/workshop/train.gif
http://haughey.com/resume/pyra13.gif

They're both over a year and a half old, and the train mockup I did get to 
work in a mix of absolute/relative positioning monstrosity that only worked 
in IE5.5/win (it was done last summer, today I could probably make it 
work). Maybe with Eric's curve demo, I could make the old pyra design work 
as well.

The problem isn't a lack of creativity, it's just the nature of a new 
toolset, and we're still figuring out how to deal with it as 
designer/programmers. Should you start in CSS first, and try to design a 
page, or go free-form in photoshop and try to design the markup in CSS 
later? There's also the past five years of experience doing most tricks in 
tables that many people fall back on when presented with display or 
cross-browser CSS problems.

I'm working on my first freelance project that the client insisted was done 
entirely in CSS/xhtml, and going from photoshop to CSS hasn't been easy, or 
free of headaches. I spent a couple days in photoshop, then the rest of a 
week trying to get the design to work across all CSS-aware browsers (for 
some reason IE5/mac was the hardest one to deal with).

Maybe it's like complaining that web design in 1996 was boring, when table 
and frame tags were new. Give us time, we'll come up with something 
compelling to look at.

Matt
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