I’ve just been reading a thoroughly enjoyable book on web site design. It comes from the creator of the CSS Zen Garden, a wonderful site which I first mentioned here nearly three years ago.
The idea of the Garden was to promote standards-based web design and, in particular, to show people what could be done with CSS in an age when most people were using tables for all their layout and embedding <font> tags in their HTML. And so the site became a showcase for a single web page – a single page of HTML, that is – but rendered in hundreds of different ways simply by changing the CSS and the associated graphics. The HTML remains unchanged. Have a quick look at
this, for example. The designs are generally carefully tailored to this particular page, and wouldn’t always work for a whole site, but it’s still a great resource and inspiration for any web designer.
And now David Shea, who created the site, and Molly E. Holzschlag have written The Zen of CSS Design, which looks at 36 of the designs and talks through, in very readable language, what we can learn about design, and what we can learn about CSS, from each of them. This is not a book for CSS beginners, but if you know the basics it comes very highly recommended.
I now want to go and redesign all my web sites. Oh, for some time….