Advantages of CSS Web Design over Tables

Web sites are comprised of a series of text files that contain a system of code called HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). Your browser reads these text files and then displays the content accordingly onto your screen.Traditionally HTML files of a web site were coded using tables. Tables are similar to a Microsoft Excel spread sheet: a series of rows and columns with the content placed within the individual cells. The issue with table based web sites is that the content is not separate from the structure of the website. This means that when a change needs to be made to your website (such as a new color palette or layout) every page needs to be re-written on an individual basis.

The alternative to tables is a newer method of coding called CSS – a.k.a. Cascading Style Sheets. In this method the web pages are created with the content, but without any (or very little) structure or formatting. Each individual page then references the single CSS file for structure and formatting. Then changes to the visual appearance of the site can be made globally from one single file.

Other advantages of CSS over tables include:

  • Faster loading times than tables
  • Extremely flexible for design choices
  • Cross-browser compatible
  • Search engine friendly
  • Easier to maintain than tables
  • More accessible on mobile devices than tables
  • Accessible to those using assistive technologies

These advantages of CSS lessen the time required to code the website, reducing the overall cost to our clients. In addition, CSS also allows site wide changes to be made within moments. This means that website maintenance is quicker and less expensive than with traditional websites created with tables.