Standards-Oriented Design: Saving Time, Money, and Sanity

Full-day Tutorial

This full-day tutorial is intended to get attendees up to speed on the latest developments in the field of standards-oriented Web/interface design. Attendees will learn about free, useful tools; see examples of standards-oriented interface design; explore creative ways to use CSS to improve textual and link presentation; and see two examples of a standards-oriented redesign process.

The morning will start with an overview of the state of standards-oriented design, covering recent advances in the field and touching on the reasons why standards-oriented design is a win-win-win situation for the technical, legal, and financial sides of an organization. This will lead to an examination of powerful techniques, such as list-driven menu systems, the use of CSS to style links based on their annotations, and using CSS to improve textual presentation of both prose and poetry. The morning will end with an exploration of the developer tools that are, or can be made, part of a Mozilla/Firefox installation, turning it into a high-powered Web development environment.

The afternoon session will be devoted to the standards-oriented redesign process, using real-world examples to show how this process can save time and money. This will begin with a detailed examination of the February 2003 redesign of Netscape DevEdge. In this stage, we will see how using CSS to work on the design prototype resulted in a highly efficient design process. The ability to use CSS to create different interface themes will be investigated, with a look at the pros and cons of the most popular approaches to theme management. The afternoon will finish with a standards-oriented redesign of the home page, taking the HTML-driven presentational markup and replacing it with a clean, compact structure while preserving the visual appearance.


This tutorial is meant for anyone who wants to understand the current state of standards-oriented design. Although there will be a wide coverage of topics, every aspect will be of interest to attendees who want to better use standards in developing interfaces and sites, but aren't sure where to start. The emphasis throughout will be on practical application and use of standards, thus providing attendees with a rich array of tools and ideas to take back to their own projects.

Attendees should be familiar with (X)HTML and have at least a minimal familiarity with CSS syntax. Prior use of CSS in a deployed project would be useful, but is not necessary.

About The Presenter

Eric A. Meyer has been working with the web since late 1993 and is an internationally recognized expert on the subjects of HTML, CSS, and Web standards. A widely read author, he is also the founder of Complex Spiral Consulting, which focuses on helping clients save money and increase efficiency through the use of standards-oriented Web design techniques and counts Macromedia and Wells Fargo Bank among its clients.

Author of Eric Meyer on CSS (New Riders), Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly & Associates), and CSS2.0 Programmer'ss Reference (Osborne/McGraw-Hill) as well as numerous articles for the O'Reilly Network, Web Techniques, and Web Review, Eric also created the CSS Browser Compatibility Charts and coordinated the authoring and creation of the W3C's official CSS Test Suite. He has lectured to a wide variety of organizations including Los Alamos National Laboratory, the New York Public Library, Cornell University, and the University of Northern Iowa. Eric has also delivered addresses and technical presentations at numerous conferences, among them the IW3C2 WWW series, Web Design World, CMP, SXSW, the User Interface conference series, and The Other Dreamweaver Conference.