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

Sent by Andy McNabb on 25 January 2002 17:05


> From: "Joshua Kaufman" [EMAIL-REMOVED]>
> To: [EMAIL-REMOVED]>
> Subject: [css-d] What happened to design?
> 
> Has anyone else read Chris Casciano's article on the cookie cutter
> approach that many are taking to CSS?
> http://www.chunkysoup.net/opinion/boringcss/

<snip>

I've noticed this "problem" as well and have a few theories.  First, I think
sliced graphics, and the lack of a decent equivalent in CSS that works well,
is a problem.  CSS sites I've seen that work well are primarily text based,
with a few graphics here and there.  There aren't too many sites out there
with complex images in their layouts that use CSS yet.  Maybe people just
haven't figured out how to do it yet.  The ones who try seem to use a
background image and try to get text to align correctly on top of it.  We
all know what happens then.

Another major factor is browser support.  Most browsers support basic
positioning and some or most of CSS1.  With that you're limited to simpler
designs.  Eric's CSS edge is a point in fact - He's done some amazing visual
things there, but many of the techniques can't be used extensively because
of browser support.  A lot of the cool CSS2 stuff I've heard about isn't
supported yet.

Fonts:  People are using text instead of images for titles and larger type
because it's accessible and easy to manage with CSS. In the past, if people
needed a large, nice looking text title or header, they would turn it into a
pretty graphic.  The problem with CSS text is that you only have a few basic
fonts to work with x-system and browser, and you can't use anything wild or
interesting on title fonts because chances are, 99% of the net doesn't have
the font you want to use on their system.  If you look at the type on
CSS-based sites, it all looks about the same which = boring.

Perhaps the biggest factor is that most people are still learning CSS and so
everyone is copying the "pros" and learning as they go.  Hence designs end
up looking similar and only a few have enough experience with the technology
to really unleash it's power.

Then again, I may be full of crap.

Andy
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