News.com staff writer Paul Festa draws more public attention to Internet Explorer’s lack of full CSS support in Developers gripe about IE standards inaction. Paul uses Jeffrey Zeldman, Eric Meyer, and Jakob Nielsen as sources for quotes about Adobe’s move to partner with Opera to improve CSS support in GoLive. In doing so, he nails the issues, shedding a brighter light on the lingering problems with Microsoft’s overly-popular browsing application. IE is a decent browser, but its shortcomings make it a dead-weight which is holding back forward-thinking web design and development. continued
Adaptive Path just published an essay written by Jeff Veen, entitled The Business Value of Web Standards. It’s a short, concise overview focusing on the tangible benefits of designing and coding a site using web standards like XHTML and CSS. Jeff speaks from lots of experience working with (and pioneering in) web standards, from his earlier days at HotWired, to the current consulting he does on client projects with his partners. continued
It’s nice to see someone take an influence and do something with it. Sure, there are some structural similarities that hint toward Golden Mean, but I’m pleased and flattered to find a design which goes out of its way to establish its own identity through completely modified graphics, colors, and type treatments. I’ve seen enough copies of design work to know that Parker actually took the time to deconstruct a CSS file, learn how it was put together and what it was doing, and rebuild a style sheet from scratch for a modified design. I could pass on the idea of lichen as a representation of beauty. But hey, “eye of the beholder” and all that. Well done.
A curious reader recently asked about the Adaptive Path redesign:
“I’m puzzling over why with the main nav bar you nested an absolute div into a relative div?”
A simple answer to his question is: Because I wanted optimum flexibility for the header and navigation, and to keep the navigation the same distance from the logo, no matter how the text is resized.
That’s the strategic answer providing rationale for the method. But I gather he might also be seeking a tactical answer. To answer his question thoroughly, I’ll backpedal a bit, and explain the workings of CSS absolute positioning in my own words, provide an example which demonstrates a different effect than the one achieved in the Adaptive Path design, then come back to the AP navigation.
In promising news for web design and development, Macromedia’s Dreamweaver MX 2004 claims it will possess much more powerful CSS support, as well as significant improvements which will help its users create accessible content. A page from Dreamweaver’s tour presents an overview of its CSS-related features. Susan Morrow, a senior director for Macromedia, is quoted with this statement in an article at MacCentral:
“It’s time for CSS to become the broad standard it should be, […] However, to date, it’s been difficult to implement.”
Congratulations to Dan Cederholm and team on launching a brand new Inc.com. The site sports a clean design, valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional markup, and a nice dosage of the CSS
background-image property to pull in decorative icons and bullets, keeping most of them out of the markup. It also uses Dan’s mini-tab effect for main navigation, which he and I must have independently devised around the same time, since Adaptive Path uses something very similar. continued
It seems I’ve not had many chances to toot my own horn lately with announcements of new designs or projects with which Stopdesign has been involved. When a print design is complete, the wait for a finished product merely depends on the printer’s schedule or a publisher’s distribution cycle. Some design projects for the web are application-based, and get tucked behind a login screen preventing access to the majority of the new design. Other projects get held up in lengthy development cycles and iterative improvements which delay public release. But once a new site design has been thoroughly produced, staged, analyzed, tested, and deemed ready for the world, making it available is almost as simple and instant as flipping a switch. continued
In a related note, Quark recently redesigned their site using XHTML for structure and CSS for presentation and table-free layout. The pages are simple and beautifully clean. The main navigation features slick slide-down subnavigation, though they could have built this navigation using an unordered list, then kept the subnavigation properly nested within the main nav list. The majority of their top-level pages validate using XHTML 1.0 Transitional. continued
For individuals who are neither designers nor artists, it may seem like those who are, use a lot of smoke and mirrors, magically whipping up each stunning creation. Artistic talent and creativity can certainly aid and enhance the final result, but design, in particular, generally follows a process. Each designer — or design group — develops a method for solving problems, then evolves that method over time. While no one person or group may view a problem from the same perspective, general similarities often appear in their approach. continued
I returned last night from a relaxing holiday weekend spent in Pismo Beach with a few good friends. One afternoon, while most of the others retired to their rooms for a midday siesta, I pulled out my laptop, settled into a big rocking chair looking out into a garden filled with native California shrubs, trees, flowers, and herbs, and was finally able to polish off a design submission for the CSS Zen Garden. continued