All CSS Sites Look the Same
Tuesday 1 June, 2004 (11:21AM GMT)
This is a statement that comes up now and then, particularly in arguments over tables vs. CSS layout.
The implication is often that this is a reason not to use CSS, but this suggests that there are somehow special graphic design limitations with the technology. At the end of the day however, CSS is not some kind of strict template system - it provides a way of manipulating every little presentational aspect of a page, so you would have to say that such an argument is false on the grounds that "the only limit is your imagination".
So where has this argument come from? I can see what people are saying - a lot of sites designed using CSS have some similar characteristics.
One specific popular technique is the use of the
border property, which is neat, quick and effective and achieves an effect that is rarely used in table-based layouts (because they're such a pain in the ass) and so makes the CSS sites stick out from the crowd.
This is a bit more abstract, but it also seems to me that those attracted to web standards tend to be relatively minimalist in their approach to design and really appreciate factors such as usability. Is it just coincidence that most CSS designed sites are easy to navigate?
I'm sure there are more things that tend to crop up and people notice but, like I said, the only limit is the designer's imagination - you only need to work your way through the designs on the CSS Zen Garden to realise this. I think that a lot of CSS sites do have similar characteristics, but I don't think these are anything more than trends - preferred fashions of the moment. If you don't like that fashion, there's nothing stopping you from doing something completely different.