CSS Tip 1: Put the content first.

Monday, March 6th, 2006

CSS has finally caught on among web designers. It’s rare to find anyone advocating table based layout anymore. Sadly many designers, including not a few famous ones, have simply adapted the CSS meme to their old bad habits. They are now producing CSS layouts that are almost as inflexible and inaccessible as the table based layouts they replace, in a few cases even more so.

The first and most fundamental principle of accessible web design is the content comes first. This is both figurative and literal. In the figurative sense, the content matters more than the presentation and the design. However, in the literal sense the content comes first and all the presentational gewgaws, navigation widgets, sidebars, and the like come later.

The Nastiest Bug

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

There’s one trap I fall into repeatedly while doing software development of any kind: testing, debugging, coding, documenting, anything. And it happens in every language I’ve ever worked in: Java, C++, Perl, CSS, HTML, XML, etc. The only difference is how much time I waste tracking down the bug.

I have this on my mind now because I just lost at least half an hour to this while working on the CSS stylesheet for this very web site. I have had many students show up during my office hours for help with debugging this problem. I have had at least one company pay me lots of money to fix this problem for them (though they didn’t know this was their bug or they wouldn’t have needed to call me in the first place). I can virtually guarantee you’ve made this mistake too. What is the mistake?

Editing the Wrong File