You hold in your hands a recipe book. With clear examples and no wasted words, designer Dan
Cederholm shows how to put web standards to work creating beautiful, lightweight interfaces
that are accessible to all.
Dan isn’t here to make the creative or business case for standards-based web design. Others
(cough) have already done that. And frankly, if you’ve bothered to pick up this book and thumb
through its pages, you probably already know the accessibility, longevity, and business benefits
standards-based design provides. You don’t need another overview or elevator pitch; you need
a practical, roll-up-your-sleeves, component view, and that’s what this book delivers.
In down-to-earth, natural language—the same kind of language that’s found on good websites—
Dan examines universal site elements such as page divisions and navigation. Using a teaching
method he pioneered at SimpleBits.com, Dan shows how web standards make these universal
page components easier to create, easier to modify when your boss or client requests last-
minute changes, and most important of all, easier for people to use.
Here’s one simple example of how this book works and why it is worth your time and your
The site you’re designing requires a three-column layout on its primary landing pages, and a
two-column layout on inner content pages. The old-school approach is to build two unrelated
HTML formatting tables as master templates. The new-school approach, recommended by the
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and practiced by standards-based designers, is to structure
the content with minimal, semantic XHTML markup and use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for
As an experienced web designer, you might naturally assume that you’ll have to craft two dif-
ferent XHTML templates and two different style sheets to generate your two- and three-column
master layouts. But as this book shows, a single XHTML structure and just one style sheet can
create both layouts. Switching from one master layout to the other is as simple as applying a
class attribute to the <body> tag.
This book is filled with insights and methods like that one—methods that can boost your output
and simplify your job while stimulating your creativity. Some of these Dan has invented; others
come from an emerging body of modern best practices developed by a vanguard of standards-
based web designers. You need to know this stuff. And the best way to start mastering it is right
in your hands. Enjoy.
—Jeffrey Zeldman,
author of Designing With Web Standards

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