Friday's links, and thoughts on table-based layouts

Written by Adrian Holovaty on August 30, 2002

It's been a big week in browsers. We had a new Mozilla release Tuesday, and yesterday the final release of Netscape 7 was released.

American Journalism Review: Local TV management should get serious about the Web. They should also get serious about Web design; a lot of TV news sites leave much to be desired. (See this old site review.)

Jonathan Dube of asked me to write a short piece on the making of the AJC Nursing Home Guide. That piece was posted online last night.

The influential Jeffrey Zeldman, author of To Hell With Bad Browsers, yesterday wrote that he finds table-based layouts acceptable, mostly because bad browsers haven't quite made it to hell yet:

When a popular current browser with otherwise good support for CSS chokes on something as basic as "float," and when millions still use 4.0 browsers (not always by choice), transitional XHTML layouts that include some table-driven formatting feel more and more like a reasonable choice.

My two cents: If content remains accessible in all browsers -- that's a must -- I still believe in advocating tableless, all-CSS layouts.

There are just too many benefits. I'm willing to live with having a site look plain in Netscape 4 because I believe Web users are more interested in obtaining information than being wowed by nice design. (The exceptions are sites that exist to wow the eye, such as photo blogs, promo sites for bands, or design/art sites.) An important distinction: I'm not saying users don't care whether things look pretty. Rather, they value the information itself more than the look of it. If a site is fundamentally easy to use, and uses proper HTML structure, it can get away with looking plain in old browsers.

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