The Skeleton in My Closet
First, thanks for all the friendly, welcoming comments to my previous blog! As I looked at some of the initial questions posted, I thought I should start out sharing a deep, dark personal secret. I’m going to confess that, despite the plethora of great articles on CSS (even a book!) on SitePoint… lean closer… I still use tables for layout. (Gasp!)
As soon as you’ve collectively collected yourselves, I’ll explain further:
Don’t get me wrong; keeping accessibility in mind — which means using CSS generously — will help you structure your site better and separate as much of the content and layout as you can. Learning as much as you can about CSS and current standards will definitely pay off in the long run — not just for you, but for your viewers. That’s why I love reading stuff by the CSS and Accessibility gurus of SitePoint; they push for the pure, higher standard. But there is a pragmatic streak in me that, well, needs to work with clients who have customers who use Netscape 4.
So my advice:
1. Learn about CSS, accessibility, and valid code. Practice it!
2. Thoroughly research your customer or viewer base. Pay attention to your server logs and the percentages of browsers and systems used.
3. Then, draw a line (“No Netscape 3!”) and be prepared for the possible cost of losing some of your viewers.
4. As you build your site, use as much CSS and accessibility concepts as you can while testing continuously in the lower-end browsers.
5. And if this means using tables… well, so be it. But be prepared to redesign your site in the next few months or years to be compatible with future (and present) technologies (i.e., handhelds and such).
Anyone out there with a better or equally reasonable compromise? Please share!
**Note: I’m still new to this submitting blogs thing, so I realize the formatting is totally screwy. Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon!