Why Use CSS Instead Of Tables

There are extensive arguments to using CSS rather than designing and using tables to layout a website. The main reasons why you should be using Cascading Style Sheets in our opinion are:

  1. Cascading Style Sheets allow for a flexible fully controllable website, you can modify the layout of a site with one file. This is cost effective in a commercial perspective.

  2. A website that uses CSS allows you to reduce the amount of core code found in your templates, using CSS instead of tables gives you faster loading websites.

  3. One of the major plus points to using CSS is for "Accessible" websites. The creation of a website using CSS masters over a table based non-user friendly site

  4. Using CSS you can separate the layout from the content improving code to content and improving your chances in the search engines

The Flexibility of CSS

Modifying files within a site that has hundreds maybe even thousands of pages can be an extreme headache. Building the site using CSS can lighten your days work dramatically. Using old coding styling such as <font></font> blows your code out of proportion, these older methods can and will most probably at some stage in the near future cause problems, as they will no longer be supported by the majority of user agents or standard browsers. Changing a site that uses these old methods can be a pain, but in the long run updating to use modern techniques such as XHTML & CSS must be a priority.

Differences using CSS Against Tables

The majority of websites that can be found in the net are built using "Tables" again an outdated method of building sites. The code equivalent against using CSS is awesome. Through our own experience(s) a site that uses tables for design layout and content presentation will always trail behind a site that uses standards conform CSS coding.

The amount of code that goes into presenting a website to the end user using tables is extensively time consuming and the amount of incorrect coding that goes on is immense. The majority of table based websites don't even use the tables as well as they could or should be. It is easy to build a site using tables but building a site that uses tables properly seems to be a hard task. Using accessible coding to create or build a site is easy, the tags are there to be used but the main stream designers don't seem to grasp the need for accessible websites.

Comparing the amount of HTML code when using tables to CSS coded sites you will find that the ratio is way to high. The performance of a site that uses CSS is generally a lot better. lowering the amount of code in the documents increases download speeds and gives the end user a better impression.

Accessible Design Using CSS

CSS improves a websites accessibility dramatically, improving user experience. A website should be built for everyone to use and not solely for the majority. Search Engine Optimisation specialists have agreed and now the majority of companies that provide Internet Marketing Services advise their clients to re-structure their sites using CSS as this improves reach to users and improves general performance.

A user that requires a screen reader of some sort needs to be able to understand what is being read to them. Using tables that are not correctly set up or coded can result in the user not understanding what is being read out. Using CSS improves this dramatically, a site that uses CSS can create user agent specific styling for screen readers, thus improving the users experience.

Accessibility and SEO are known to work pretty much hand in hand. A website that conforms to standards using valid XHTML & CSS is known to perform better than over bloated table coding, at the same time it improves general user experience.

General Functionality of CSS

When CSS was introduced a design experience was created. Using the functions that CSS allows you can create a website that not only looks good but a site that has an improved user interaction. HTML doesn't allow you to create special effects on a site, it is a plain boring code that says you go there and that's it. With CSS you can create something special. Using effects such as changing link colours or displaying elements when a link is hovered over, you don't even need to use JavaScript for a lot of the special effects that CSS is capable of.

There are plenty of websites out there that experiment with CSS to bring out the best results. Using link elements to create running characters or building a house purely from CSS, the two examples are a little more extreme but they show the true flexibility of CSS.