Many of us can remember a time when the typical web page resembled a poster publicizing a high school dance. No banners, no sidebars, and certainly no flash. When a designer wanted to grab your attention they used red type on a blue background, which resulted in more migraines than anything else. Thankfully, web design has made great strides in the last 20 years. These days, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) allow designers to create, layout, and manipulate design elements with a few lines of code. Everyone from solo bloggers to established businesses can, with CSS, give their website a professional and sophisticated appearance. Here we’ll take a look at a few of the basic ways CSS has changed the way websites look and altered the way designers conceptualize your project.
Solo Interchangeable parts Just as the assembly line revolutionized manufacturing, CSS has allowed for the creation of a range of design template options with a few lines of code. These days a wealth of websites — from blogs to commercial sites to special leads social media sites like Tumblr — let users change the look of their page by selecting from an array of templates. Placement of elements like headers and sidebars, the organization of columns, and the selection of backing and trim colors can all be chosen by users with zero design experience. Why? Because somewhere along the line a designer used CSS coding to make that possible. So, on behalf of everyone, thank you.
Changes on the fly Customization has been a critical selling advantage for decades, ever since Burger King told us, “have it your way.” Making custom changes easily and on the fly is another way CSS has changed web design. Elements can be easily altered and rearranged as needed, without overhauling the design. Want to move a sidebar? No problem. Change a background color in the header? Easy peasy. Contouring the text or wrapping text around a curved image, once a real challenge, is now a relatively simple operation. And for designers whose clients enjoy making last-minute changes (i.e. most of them), CSS has rescued many from a late night at the computer.