Un-fixing your layout, fixing your CSS

MediaSavvy brings up two points about fixed-width layouts:

1. Fixed-width layouts should be flush left: I’m not so sure about this one. When I’m going to a new site I don’t expect any of that sites UI elements to be in similar places as the last site I visited.

It can be a bit jarring, I guess, to see the content move to the center. That said, if you’ve got to be fixed width, I say center your design, the white space will be balanced which is more eye-pleasing and harmonious than the giant backwards-L you get with a flush-left design.

2. Eliminating fixed-width layouts is also better because they give designers the illusion of more control of presentation than they really have. Preach on! Say it with me now folks… the Web is not print, the Web is not print. They are different mediums, they are different mediums. There now, have a coffee, and go design for the Web, and everything will be OK.

Mezzoblue has some great tips about debugging your CSS. These are all practices I’ve followed in my own CSS debugging and are worth bookmarking.

He also raises a good point about skills you should be looking for in a modern Web designer:

…the most valuable skill to possess in the maddeningly complex minefield of today’s browser landscape isn’t, in fact, knowing which browsers do what to which properties. It’s problem-solving.

Listen to the man, he knows what he’s saying.

One final, Mezzoblue related, note. For a project at work (soon to be launched, I promise), I used Mezzoblue’s RSS tip to create an XSLT sheet to transform the RSS into HTML for users who inadvertently click on the link (expecting something other than XML code). Seeing an XML file transformed to styled HTML before your eyes is pretty damn cool.

About Chris

Python developer, Agile practitioner trying desperately not to be a pointy haired boss.
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