5 CSS Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Designs

You’re Blowing Off Visitors with Lower Resolutions: If you are like most web designers, you probably have a computer with a nice, big monitor.  I know that I personally use an iMac with a twenty-four inch monitor, and plan on adding another twenty-four monitor into the mix in the near future.  Since we spend so much time on our computers, it’s great for us to have large monitors.  However, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is browsing with the same kind of monitor.  In fact, if you haven’t done it before, I think you will be shocked at how many people are viewing your designs at lower resolutions (you can obtain this information from a program like Google Analytics).

Not Taking the Time to Validate Everything: A lot of times, it can be quite easy to finish a design and assume that everything is working just fine because it loads in your browser.  However, the only way you are ever going to know for sure is by taking the time to validate your code.  While things may look great in your browser, if your code isn’t actually standards compliant, it might not look so hot in a different browser.

Keep in mind that when I say you need to validate your code, this not only includes your CSS, but also your HTML/XHTML.

Spreading Your CSS Throughout Lots of Files: Although I have been guilty of many of the other mistakes, this is personally not one that I’ve ever done.  However, I’ve got plenty of web designer friends who I have caught in the middle of this issue.  If you are using more than three files for your design (preferably you will only have one or two), it’s time to purge and rethink how you are putting together your designs.

By spreading your CSS throughout lots of files, you are not only creating a potential nightmare for yourself when you need to make an update, but you are also hindering the performance of your website.

Not Reducing the Size of Your Background Images: Background images can be a great way to create an amazing looking design.  However, if you don’t reduce the size of the images you use, not many people are going to see your design because they will leave the website before it finally finishes loading.

If you are going to use a background image, you should reduce the size of the file as much as possible, and then use a simple snippet of CSS to repeat the image and populate the background of your design.

Always Starting from the Very Beginning: The last mistake that myself and many other designers makes seems to stem from the fact that we convince ourselves that we can create the perfect design if we start from scratch.  In reality, the opposite is actually more true.  Instead of wasting time (and potentially creating mistakes) by starting with a blank canvas, we should all be taking advantage of the great frameworks that are available.

By using these proven frameworks as the basis for your designs, you can skip the grunt work and focus on what’s important: creating a killer design that’s user friendly and will set a website apart from all of its competitors.

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