CSS helps the designers create design layouts in the style they want. The CSS code must be clean and error free to render designs that are stable and do not break. Designers often commit some common CSS coding mistakes that lead to flawed design and unmanageable code. When other designers access such code, they are not able to comprehend the code and rectification or modification becomes very difficult. This blog deals with such mistakes that designers often commit while coding CSS and how to avoid them.
Improper advance planning of the layout
It is advised to have a proper planning of the layout before you start to code. By doing so, you will be able to know how the different elements are going to work. If there is any issue with the interaction of the elements, it can be resolved on the paper. Handling the issues when the codes have been written, becomes quite tough and time-consuming. This is a mistake that can be avoided quite easily. All you need to do is to chalk out the details on paper before writing CSS code for the design. Check out the video tutorial below.
Not taking different browsers into consideration
Earlier, when there were few browsers to cater, this mistake was not considered a grave one. The scenario is different now as the line between the devices is getting blurred. There are several browsers for desktops, smartphones, and tablets, and your CSS layout must be compatible with the major ones in order to reach out to the maximum users. Hence, it is now wise to build designs that are responsive by using media queries and fluid layouts. The design layout must be intuitive enough to adapt to the screen size, it is being viewed on. There are programs that can be used for this purpose.
When you take notes in the CSS code and document it, you make things easier for other developers to read and understand the code in order to modify it. Using the comments for different pieces of code will let you continue with the code quickly. This is important because, human memory can forget things and it might become difficult for you to manage the code if there are notes made for the codes. In the future, if someone else has to work on your CSS code, documentation will help him comprehend the code quickly and thus, a lot of time and resources can be saved.
Compromising the readability of the code
It is good to optimize the code as it leads to faster loading of the website. The designers often remove the spaces between the CSS definitions to reduce the space consumed by the code. Although it promotes faster website loading, it has a downside too. Removing the spaces between the CSS codes results in reduced readability of the code that can have serious repercussions in future when code modification will be warranted. It is, therefore, recommended to space out the CSS definitions and also use line breaks for better legibility and understandability of the code.
Animation without a purpose
Animations are added to a website to make it look attractive to the visitors. Apart from the aesthetic value, if your animation is not serving any major purpose, it should not be there in the website. You can add animations through CSS and HTML5 but before you implement them, ask yourself their purpose. If they are displaying the products or a design process, it is fine, you can go ahead and use the animations. However, if they are just for the beauty, it is better to keep them out of the design layout. It is because they eat a lot of space, make the website heavy, and increase the loading time of the website.
No Code Validation
The errors in codes whether CSS or HTML must be fixed before they actually occur. Validation of the markup that you create using CSS ensures that the CSS code is free of errors and bugs. Error-free codes result in better and stable design. Fixing the code after the errors have occurred is tough and consumes a lot of precious time. Validation of your CSS code simply means that it should follow the W3C standards. CSS validator tool from W3C can be used to validate the CSS code. Browsers extensions are also available to test the pages.
Apart from these tips, you also need to follow certain proven guidelines that help keep the website in an optimized state. One of these guidelines is to avoid using a large image for the background and instead make use of the CSS gradients. Doing this will ensure faster loading of the page. Also, when you add a video to your website, make sure that you add the controls for the videos too. This enhances the user experience provided by the website.
Although CSS is a great tool, there are times when developers go overboard with it. If your website is a simple one, you should not waste your time coding much CSS and instead use images to bring out the effect. In the end, it all boils down to the kind of website, its purpose, and its intended audience.
These common design issues should be watched out for while writing the CSS code. Documentation of the code is also very important as it helps others who have the access to our CSS code to make changes in the code. Keeping these common mistakes at bay will ensure that your design layout is flawless and conforms to the highest standards. To keep the website optimized so that it loads fast even on the mobile browsers, some of these tips will be quite helpful.
Author’s Bio: The blog has been penned by Bryan Lazaris (@bryanlazaris), a senior web developer at HireWebDeveloper, a reputed web development company based in India. When Bryan is not coding a website, he likes to write about the innovations and new developments in the arena of web development and related domains.