The nature of HTML website design continues to change, grow, and evolve. Because of that fact, there are resources that will teach you everything you need to know in order to embark on a professional web design career today, tomorrow … or five years ago.
No savvy client wants to hire an HTML web designer that’s ready for five years ago, today.
To that end, this article will address a few of the signs of the times. We’ll take age-old questions and give you modern answers, so that your web design practices make use of today’s HTML standards, not those of a previous decade.
HTML Tables, Frames or Divs?
Use Divs. Never, ever, ever use frames, and only use tables in the most appropriate ways.
HTML tables were never intended to be a web design layout tool. They were readily co-opted for that purpose from the very first days of the consumer internet, but today, it’s poor form, and it can actually lead to SEO penalties in certain cases.
The Div tag is now a robust, cross-compatible HTML website design feature that can do everything tables can do, plus far more. They can seem a tad daunting at first, especially if you’re used to thinking in one-square-fits-all HTML table structures using colspan and rowspan attributes… but that’s no longer an excuse.
Learn the power of the HTML Div tag. And never, ever use frames – for anything.
HTML Image Captions vs Alt Text?
What’s the best way to help both search engines, and site visitors, put your images into context: image captions, or the HTML “alt” attribute in the image tag? The answer: both. However, if you, for whatever reason, choose to omit one, omit the caption.
The only reasons we can think of for omitting one are:
- Fear of duplicate content. Have no fear, the search engines understand that you might use the same text in both the alt attribute, and the caption. You won’t be penalized.
- Space considerations. This is the top reason why websites will omit a space-hogging caption.
We’ve done it ourselves on many a site, and we suspect that the creators of HTML web browsers understood this – that’s why you get alt text when you hover your mouse over the image.
Whenever it’s feasible, you’ll get more mileage out of straight DHTML with scripting and good use of DOM styles. Although most mobile devices and other alternative web appliances tend to be Flash-compatible, consider:
- If your visitors aren’t using a graphical browser, your Flash-driven site is completely blank to those users. (Think nobody uses text browsers anymore? What about your more-basic cell phones with web features?)
Classic HTML Website Design vs Ultra-Modern?
Go ultra-modern. Today’s so-called “bleeding edge” HTML design implementations are actually more backwards-compatible, than websites that were too heavily dependent on yesterday’s kludge-mode design patterns.