Why bother with all this CSS?

CSS is harder to understand at first than HTML. Anything that is new and different is always hard to understand at first!
You probably shouldn't bother with it if you don't have any view of

The questions

  1. I'm fine with what i'm doing now. My web pages look fine with the html i use. Why should i bother to learn these things?
    How good do you want your website to be?
    How many people do you want to reach?
    How important is your message?
    A website is like a transporter of information. If we are just carrying a couple of unimportant parcels, then any old wagon will do, and we don't need to bother to learn anything.
  2. I'm not a programmer! CSS has all these codes, i don't have the head for that.
    I thought the same thing about myself! And i know others who thought of themselves as non-coders, and once they became interested, it all came to them.
    So the way to know, is to try it. If you really don't have "the head for it", then you will know for sure. You can find someone else to do the coding, and use your time for the great things that only you can do! And, you will understand what the coder is doing, and be better at working with them.
  3. I'm a designer — I don't need to learn this CSS stuff! Right? Graphics and colors are what make page design. I already have enough to learn with PhotoShop and those things.
    Designing for web is a skill of its own. But the more you know about how the web works, the better designing you can do.
    See what modern web designers are doing with code at
    CSS Zen Garden
    Designs at Mezzoblue
    A List Apart

Points of view

Some of us come from a graphical design background, some from a programming background, some from "just make some simple pages". For all of us, as we develop more sites, our point of view expands from individual web pages, to our website as a whole, and then to the web as a whole ... "the new nerves of this planet."

we begin ...   as we grow ...

One web page

web pages

web site

The World Wide Web

our thinking

We think of one page at a time.
The users are all humans, gazing at our pages as they would at a painting.
We think of our website as a set of pages, that people can get to through links from the home page.
The users are people who are exploring our site, finding information, as well as enjoying the environment created by the design.
We come to know that may people may never enter our site through the home page, also that they may not even look at our navigation bars as they explore our site.
Our site is more interactive, with popups, forums, etc. It is a tool, or application for the users.
The design can help or hinder how this tool works.
We realize that our site as part of a web of millions of sites.
Humans are only one of many users (called user agents) accessing and exploring the site! [more]
The visual design is only part of how the site is used, and how it interacts with the other sites. All these other users are reading the html code in order to understand the pages.

code and techniques

We look at code as something to get through as quickly as possible.
We are satisfied when the page "looks good".
We come to realize that when the code in the pages doesn't follow the standards, our design might not display the way we want.
We find that different browsers display pages in different ways, and the solution is in the code.
We come to realize that the code and standards we learned today, will be changing tomorrow. (Darn those programmers!) So we pay attention to our code so that we will understand it, and so it will be easy to update in the future.

our role

We make web pages, for fun, as a volunteer, or as part of some department or organisation.
We start exploring the advanced functions of DreamWeaver (or other page-generation application) and find that we have to learn about those html and css codes, site structure, and other things that we thought DreamWeaver would protect us from!
We start exploring the web and see other sites with very beautiful designs. Yet the html code looks very simple. We start wondering what we are missing.
We start getting interested in the cool things that Javascript and CSS can do — and find that we must know the HTML codes, and the CSS codes, and more. And also we have to learn about things like "coding standards" and the "Document Object Model".
We want to do more with websites, such as adding newsfeeds, installing CMS and photo gallery website apps, connecting our site with FaceBook, Twitter, and other sites. We find that this means learning ... more HTML and CSS!
We don't want to learn the details of these things, but find that we must have an understanding of these details if we are to advance in our field (web design, project manager, content provider, etc.)
Security is mostly a superstition ... Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run, than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
Helen Keller

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