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How big is too big?

Sent by Bob Easton on 22 September 2005 11:11


Tim Zappe wrote:
> How big is too big?
> 
>    - What is a good rule of thumb for a CSS file size?
>    - How big should all of the images used by your stylesheet be? --
>    Total
>    - What is a good size for a typical web page? -- I remember hearing
>    60-80k, but that seems like we should be able to go bigger by now....I just
>    don't know how big.
>     - What screen resolution should we cater to? -- I noticed that A List
>    Apart(www.alistapart.com <http://www.alistapart.com>) is now catering
>    to 1024x1280 instead of 600x800 is this something that we can start moving
>    our industry to, or is it still too early? If it is too early, when can we
>    expect this change?
>    - What are the appropriate sizes and techniques -- for CSS -- to mange
>    users on mobile devices? -- PDASs, Phones, ect.
> 

Too many questions in one post, and actually too many to answer in a day 
of reading and typing. Only the first and last are CSS topics that apply 
to this list.  The others might be better answered on other lists.  See 
our off-topic page in the CSS-discuss WIKI for where to find those 
lists. (1) Some of these other questions have no easy answers and are 
sometimes discussed on web developer's blogs.  Start subscribing to 
those blogs to  keep up with what they are thinking.  I'll add a 
CSS-discuss WIKI page shortly to start building a list of blogs and 
feeds.  Look for it soon. (3)

For your first question, the answer is in the concept of separating 
presentation from content. Remove all of the presentation markup from 
the HTML.  Learn to use CSS in wasys that are efficient, such as 
understanding selectors well enough to miminize "divitus." (Divitus is 
the excessinve ues of DIVs, something that's all too easy to do when 
coming from a history of using tables for layout.) Then, develop the 
style sheets to apply the desired presentation characteristics.  They 
will be long and complex if the design is complex, smaller if the design 
is smaller. ... and smaller yet as you learn to optimize CSS coding. 
There is no rule of thumb, other than a variation of an old Einstein 
chestnut: "Make your CSS as complicated as needed, but no more."

For the last question, there are not a lot of good sources.  One is 
because the browsers in small devices are still rather primative and 
designers dislike thingking about them.  Second, (I think) the market 
hasn't yet demanded we cater to those devices.  I expect it will 
someday, when available bandwidth is ubiquitous. One good strategy is to 
offer an alternative style sheet that serializes the page into a layout 
that is not width or size sensitive.  This is Joe Clark's "Zoom" 
technique, originally designed to help people with low vision, who zoom 
the magnification of pages. (2)


(1) http://css-discuss.incutio.com/?page=OffTopic
(2) http://www.alistapart.com/articles/lowvision
(3) http://css-discuss.incutio.com/page?=DesignerDeveloperBlogs

-- 
Bob Easton
Accessibility Matters: http://access-matters.com

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