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David C. Dalton

Web Application & Database Development, Responsive Website Design, Programming & SEO Services

Please note: This article is technically outdate as of 2015 but for reference from other sections I am leaving it on the site. For more modern means of handling interface designing please see my responsive web design section.

Connecting with customers today means more than computer users. Cell Phones, PDAs and other devices grow in popularity every day. Are you willing to ignore those potential clients because your developer can’t code for them?

CSS - XHTML Tableless Interface Design

Before you listen to me rant about tableless CSS driven sites please read this about tabled website layouts, from the 2003 Seybold conference, by Bill Merikallio (Scott Designs) and Adam Pratt (Adobe Systems Incorporated) ... it just saves me SO MUCH talking!

You might be asking, 'What’s an interface?'. Well you are looking at one right now. The portion of your website or web application that the customer interacts with is either known as a GUI (pronounced gooey) or as an interface. If this interface is difficult to navigate, doesn’t render properly in all modern browsers or non-computer devices you are probably driving customers into your competitors arms every day. Improperly coded interfaces will also suck up valuable bandwidth on your servers. Bandwidth you are paying for each and every month. Lastly, if your interface is improperly coded your search engine rankings will suffer.

Tableless CSS Driven Web Interfaces

I only code interfaces in tableless CSS driven XHTML. Why, you might ask. If you do not know the advantages of this style coding you are in for the shock of your life because you have probably being paying good money to developers who provide you with code that is hurting your website and your business. I strongly encourage you to read everything on this page and then take a long look at any code you may have had written for you by other developers!

Less Code equals better search engine rankings!

Yes you read that right. These tabled "slice n dice" html layouts 90% of the world’s web developers are pumping out on a daily basis put your website behind the eight ball from the first time a search engine spider looks at your website! Plain and simple the more code the spider has to work through the lower your rankings will be. It has also been suggested by many search engine optimization specialists that most spiders have a set amount of time (we are talking milliseconds here) that they are allowed to spend on a given page. If the spider doesn’t reach your indexable content within the allowed time the spider will never read your content and you might as well not exist in the listings.

With a tableless CSS driven xhtml layout 75% of the code required to format your pages is removed into an external CSS file, that’s 75% LESS code the spider has to go through to read YOUR text! Any required scripting (IE: Javascript) is also removed to external files, removing even more "junk" from your pages. What this all effectively does is to lower what’s known as your code to content ratio. You see, in a search engine spider’s "mind" a perfect page is nothing more than plain text just like you would get out of notepad. Since most people don’t want a site of nothing but text you must find the lowest possible amount of code to make your website look good. Tableless CSS Driven website layouts are the answer!

Support for Devices other than computers

Today’s internet surfers aren’t all sitting at home in front of a computer! Recent statistics point to a 2 - 5 % increase in the use of cell phones and PDAs for surfing the internet every year since 2005! Are you willing to allow a potential client base of 5% be excluded from using your website because it is coded improperly? Tableless CSS driven XHTML website layouts allow separate style sheets to be coded for each of these different devices and allow each device to render your site properly. Why exclude potential clients in this doggy dog business climate?

Less server strain, lower bandwidth costs

Are you constantly having to increase your hosting plan or paying extra fees for bandwidth? Would you like to run your website on a less expensive hosting plan? If you answered yes to either of these questions a tableless CSS Driven website is your answer. By reducing the code size for each page your bandwidth is reduced. Furthermore most modern browsers cache your site’s style sheet and don’t download them on subsequent pages. Bandwidth can be reduced as much as 80% and storage may be decreased by 50%!

Faster page loads for your customers

Did you know that the average web surfer will only wait 15 seconds for your page to load before they move on? By cutting down the code in a tableless design your page load times could be cut in half. This is further enhanced by the fact that browsers cache the style sheet and images from the style sheet, making you pages load even faster. Faster pages and happier customers mean more visits and potential sales for you! Most of our tableless layouts load in under 10 seconds on a 56k modem!

More versatility in your interface

Let’s face it, not everyone likes a web page set up the same way. By using a tableless CSS Driven layout you can add real customization and functionality to your website. Just like with our "style switcher" on this site, clients can change the font that’s used, move menus around the page to where they like them, even change the font size and color to make their experience on your website more pleasurable to them! Again, happier customers mean more visits and more sales!

faster, less expensive website redesigns

Redesigning an "old fashioned" website can be downright painful! Months of re-coding page after page can make a redesign as costly as the original build of your website. By using a tableless CSS driven layout these redesign times can be cut in half. Websites that took months to redesign and deploy can now be redesigned in a matter of days. Minor changes such as font style, or colors can literally be done in seconds by editing one line of CSS in one style sheet. Honestly, why would you ever want to waste all that time and money on a redesign when it can be put to better use building your business?

Browser compatibility

Almost every modern browser supports tableless layouts. Internet Explorer 5.0 and up, all versions of Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Safari, Konquerer and Netscape versions 7.0 and up all render tableless layouts properly if they are coded correctly so what are you waiting for? There is literally no downside to making the switch. Your only real problem is finding developers who know how to build these interfaces properly, but then again since you are here you don’t have that problem any more do you?

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