In 2008, Dan Cederholm published a trailblazing book, ‘Bulletproof Web Design’. It documents how to use CSS2, stripping out formatting from HTML pages and placing them in a single style sheet file.
CCS2 was launched in 1998. Despite massive development time savings, in 2008 Internet Explorer was still not compatible! The recently launched Firefox and soon to be released Google Chrome were. Dan’s timely book recommends we no longer wait for Microsoft to catch up and jump on board with CSS2.
Microsoft is losing the latest Browser War
Internet Explorer’s latest version still doesn’t understand responsive design. Microsoft’s wasted enough of our time already. Instead of pandering to the lowest common denominator, lets design for the brighter kids in the class, get CSS2: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera who are taking more of the market share. On that note, we have more pressing issues to deal with.
Big Screens. Little Fonts
In addition, at the time the recent drop in cost of LED monitors, meant visitors just went out and bought increasingly varied screen sizes, the cheeky blighters!
Not only that, users were changing browser their settings to magnify font size. This was partly due to so many websites at the time, being designed on Macs. Many developers seemed unaware that the relatively low pixel density of PCs made fonts were microscopic. It also meant a third of the bottom and right of the screen was left mysteriously blank !
Solution 1: Liquid Layouts
Dan describes his solution as liquid layouts. You set the column widths and heights to a percentage of the full window size. Many very high profile sites have taken this up, despite being fundamentally flawed.
As any graphic designer worth his salt will tell you, having more than 7-12 words per line makes it awkward to read. Your eye struggles to scan left again, to pick up the next line.
To see a real life example of this, take a look at Wikipedia on a large screen. 45 words anyone!