I just finished reading a rather good book on web standards: Designing with Web Standards, by Jeffrey Zeldman. It makes a compelling case for changing to CSS-based web design from the old "tables & junk code" method.
It's a little light on coding examples, however. It also points out that CSS has a few bugs in it, still (or rather, most browsers do). All in all, a good read.
Publisher: Peachpit Press
CSS Zen Garden
CSS Zen Garden is the beautiful web site that shows the power of CSS in web design. By clicking on links, you can replace the style sheets & change the entire looks of the (one-page) site. Many people know about it, but for those who don't, here is the link:
The following tips are provided "as is". These are things I've discovered or heard about over the years. Some of them may be questionable or matters of opinion. Things to think about, anyway.
- Don't use Flash for navigation. Search engines can't read Flash very well, so they can't find all of the pages in your site unless you also do a text menu somewhere.
- Do a text menu somewhere.
- Optimize your images—Fireworks is the best program for this that I've used. People on dialup don't want to wait 5 minutes for your huge opening graphic to appear.
- Don't use huge opening graphics.
- Put as much useful text on your home page as possible (think: key words).
- The page title (the words in the very top bar of your browser) are important for search engines. You can make them quite long. "Welcome" or "home page" are not very helpful.
- Alt texts (the little words that appear sometimes when you put your mouse over a graphic) are also useful. "Man in suit" is better alt text than "345_876.jpg", also for accessibility reasons.
- If your CSS stylesheet doesn't load in Firefox, it may be your web server's fault. Try a different server, if you have that option.
- Try & lay off the gimmicks. Unless you're deliberately trying to impress people.
- Description & keywords metatags are not as important as actual site content. However, you should still use them as much as you can.
- White text on a dark background is not always a good idea.
- Many users don't know they can resize text in most browsers, so make the text a decent size.
- Web design is not rocket science. Rocket science is not web design.
- There are obvious exceptions to many of these tips.