Beyond the graphical

Unless you've had your head firmly buried in the sand you are probably aware of the various CSS showcase sites on the internet. However, if you take a closer look at some of the sites featured on these showcases, you'll see that some of them fall short of a true understanding of what web standards are all about.

For example, you might find a gorgeous site which hits your design sweet spot. Whilst the graphical design is stunning, as soon as you bump up the text a couple of notches (Ctrl + on firefox) the design explodes across the screen to reveal a heavy reliance on one single background image set-up in such a way that the design only works at default text sizes.

Another example would be to see a tasty design that has a bad case of 'divitis' as soon as you peek at the source. It quickly becomes clear that the author has no idea about what elements are at his or her disposal and has instead just put everything inside divs.

Now before anyone jumps to the comment form, blood boiling to deliver me a steaming diatribe please read on and understand the point that I am making.

What I am concerned about is that a newcomer may be swayed by the shiny lights of the highly popular CSS showcase sites and be lead to believe that "John Smith's blog as featured on CSS wardrobe" is a good example of web standards just by the virtue of it being featured on such a site.

I am not saying that CSS showcase sites are bad but their prime focus is to showcase graphical design talent but not necessarily to advocate web standards. As long as the visitor understands this then they won't go far wrong. But I reckon that some people have an association that assumes that all CSS designs == web standards which is not the case.

So what's the solution

If we want to see designers creating quality standards websites then we need to make sure that we are getting a message across that promotes all of the many facets of web standards development of which graphical design is just one. Sites like CSS Zen garden, Stylegala, CSS Beauty and all of the other CSS showcases have attracted designers to learning CSS it's up to the rest of us to take them beyond the graphical.

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