[thelist] Are you designing with CSS and web standards?

Joshua Olson joshua at waetech.com
Fri Mar 11 08:45:27 CST 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rich Points
> Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2005 11:59 PM
> I've tried to argue about "knowing CSS allows you to design within the
> limitations of CSS and make designs that are actually 
> implementable."  After
> a lot of introspection I began to realize the fallacy of that 
> particular
> argument... namely, it's hinders the creativity of the 
> designer (which means
> disgruntled designer... which we don't want) and lends itself 
> to "blogish"
> looking sites.  I'd rather have a designer puke their
> vision--unadulterated--onto the page and let the CSS guru's 
> figure out how
> to implement it.

Rich observed:

> This just isn't true**, have a look at http://csszengarden.com/

I think further elaboration (by you) is needed here to show how the Zen
Garden contradicts the original statement.  I just looked through about 40
of the designs at the Garden and I see a few that are out-of-the-box, but
for the most part many of the designs are just variations on the theme...
different colors and graphics, left-nav, right-nav, whoopie!  While some are
pleasing to the eye, they aren't necessarily new experiences of the

marc added:

> When I'm building a house, I'd rather have a fairly good mason, who 
> understands that when you're building houses you need to 
> leave holes in the 
> wall for plumbing, rather than a master sculptor who has never even 
> conceived of the notion of plumbing.
> That way the plumber doesn't have to waste time banging holes in the 
> unadulterated vision so I can flush my toilet.

As a developer, I understand this argument completely.  As a developer, I'm
essentially a DOER, just as a mason and plumber are DOERs of a home
renovation.  I'm not sure which side you were arguing, though, as this
analogy does not translate to a designers role in a web project, per se.  

A designer could be thought more of as the architect, and neither the
engineers who plan the implementation nor the contractors who build the
house.  Architects understand the limitations of physics, but want to create
something innovation yet appropriate for the budget and target market.
Analogize this with good web designers... they understand the limitations of
the medium (pixels, browser widths, etc) and understand the tenets of
usability, but shouldn't be hampered by the box model hacks, lack of opacity
in Opera, the 3-pixel jog bug in IE, or any of the other BS associated with
implementing.  Let designers do what they do... create appropriate solutions
to the client's needs from a purely visual standpoint... then let the
engineers do what they do... make the designer's vision a reality.

Joshua Olson
Web Application Engineer
WAE Tech Inc.

More information about the thelist mailing list