What you can achieve

…with CSS-based design. If you’re really feeling masochistic.

Bruce Lawson’s GeoCities 1996 – created for the CSS Zen Garden.

I think the message we can take from this is as follows:

Just because a site is standards-compliant doesn’t mean it isn’t a festering pile of shite.

Addendum: this guy’s site now seems to have gone down due to exceeding his bandwidth limit. Here you go kiddies, proof (if you needed it) that good design can save you on bandwidth! 😉

3 Responses to “What you can achieve”

    •  Gravatar for Jonty
    • From Jonty
    • Wednesday 22 December 2004 at 17:43

    It’s true that just because a site validates doesn’t make it semantically sound, or accessible, or attractive etc. I have to confess my first ‘standards’ site utilised tables and very little CSS, and yet still validated XHTML compliant.

    I suppose the reason for much fawning over CSS is because those who are savvy with it tend to be rather talented at what they do to begin with. CSS Zen Garden in particularly appeals for graphic artists to strut their stuff. That said, CSS still isn’t as powerful as such people would like, but it certainly isn’t bad.

  1. CSS Zen Garden is an interesting site. I love it for promoting design – some of the results are truly outstanding. That said, it’s very much a graphic design oriented site – many of the designs replace the text with images (and use ALT text, of course) but personally I find the loss of accessibility to be a bit of a hit. I’m going through a bit of a mellowing at the mo toward things like “spare” elements (leaving 5 spans at the end of a doc for CSS hooks, for example) before CSS support for ::before and ::after provides enough spare boxes natively, but images for text goes against accessible contend in my view. It’s one thing to say “A short sighted person can view this in text-only and get the text whatever size they like”, but I’d much rather produce something aesthetically slick and also aesthetically enjoyable by the disabled, rather than just saying “hey, here’s some text that I wrote, sorry about your eyes”.

    What I do love it for though, apart from promoting CSS, is things like CSS Zen Ocean that demonstrates an incredible and impressive new technique (scroll down, watch the diver). It’s not the best design ever on CSS Zen Garden, but it’s one of those rare ones that makes you think: “How did they do that?”.

    •  Gravatar for Jonty
    • From Jonty
    • Wednesday 22 December 2004 at 19:02

    That’s very true, Ben. In fairness to CSS Zen Garden, they do state they are targetting graphic designers not because they necessarily prefer such work, but just because (traditionally) CSS lacked support from that community.

    However, I think Liquid Bleach over on Stopdesign makes a good counter-balance to such efforts, focussing on how sites look sans-graphics (and in the case of the liquid version, sans-fixed-width elements).

    P.S. That CSS Zen Ocean is very clever :)