CSS Web Design Basics

CSS Web Design Basics

CSS Web Design Basics



So, what is CSS? CSS is the acronym for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is a simple mechanism for adding style and  describing the presentation  e.g. fonts, colors, spacing and other aspects of web presentation. Cascading Style Sheets were developed as a means for creating a consistent approach to providing style information for web documents.Most Web authoring tools provide some sort of support for CSS style sheets, such as the ever popular Dreamweaver™.


Using CSS design allows your pages to download more quickly, makes your website much easier to manage, and has numerous web usability, accessibility and search engine optimisation benefits, in fact in order to validate your XHTML pages with the w3c, you are required to use css.

Style sheets have been in use for years. They are the technical specifications for  layout, whether print or online. Print designers use style sheets to insure that their designs are printed exactly to specifications. A style sheet for a Web page serves the same purpose, but with the added functionality of also telling the viewing engine how to render the document being viewed.

However, the cascading bit for web page design is the special part. A Web style sheet is intended to cascade through a series of style sheets, like a waterfall. Every Web page is affected by at least one style sheet, even if the Web designer doesn’t apply any styles. This style sheet is the user agent style sheet – the default styles that the Web browser will use to display a page if no other instructions are provided. But if the web designer provides other instructions, i.e. specifies a specific link color, the browser needs to know which instructions have priority, the cascade defines the style sheets set by the designers to redefine the color and supersede the web browser’s defaults.

Using CSS you will find your web pages will be smaller; increasing your site download time, something that will appeal to your website visitors and, to boot your mark-up will be cleaner, appealing to the all important search engines. Once a site has been created using CSS maintenance of the site becomes much easier, making life simple for the web designer or persons in charge of web maintenance. How?  The presentation of an entire web site or web document, for example the color of links, can be changed by altering just one file, greatly reducing the time and money spent on upkeep.

Using CSS your content will be accessible to all browsing devices, incorporating everything from Lynx based systems to mobile phones and PDA’s


When you’re first learning to build a Web site, you often don’t think much about style sheets, as you’re too busy learning to tell a

from a
. But once you’ve mastered the basics, CSS is a great place to go to make your pages more user friendly and controllable.


The Benefits



By editing a single CSS file, you can make site wide design changes.

CSS lets you output to multiple formats quickly.

CSS lets you use logical names for page elements. You can, for example, give a DIV the name “header”, or a H1 the class “headline”.

External CSS files are cached by browsers, improving load time.

CSS eliminates the need for lots of confusing code making the web developers lives easier.

CSS lets you do things normal HTML doesn’t, for example better font control, absolute positioning.

Practical use of CSS encourages proper HTML structure, which will improve accessibility and search engine placement.

If you want valid XHTML Strict you have to use CSS






CSS design represents a much more powerful way to lay out websites, using CSS design in yor web applications allows your pages to download more quickly, makes your website much easier to manage, and has numerous web usability, accessibility and search engine optimisation benefits.






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