Author:

Zoe Mickley Gillenwater is a freelance graphic and web designer, developer and consultant. She is the author of the book Flexible Web Design: Creating Liquid and Elastic Layouts with CSS and the video training title Web Accessibility Principles for lynda.com, and is working on the upcoming book Stunning CSS3: A Project-based Guide to the Latest in CSS. Zoe is currently a member of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) Adobe Task Force and was previously a moderator of the popular css-discuss mailing list. Find out more about Zoe on her blog and portfolio site or follow her on Twitter.

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Modern CSS Layouts, Part 2: The Essential Techniques

In Modern CSS Layouts, Part 1: The Essential Characteristics, you learned that modern, CSS-based web sites should be progressively enhanced, adaptive to diverse users, modular, efficient and typographically rich. Now that you know what characterizes a modern CSS web site, how do you build one? Here are dozens of essential techniques and tools to learn and use to achieve the characteristics of today's most successful CSS-based web pages.

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Just as in the previous article, we're not going to be talking about design trends and styles; these styles are always changing. Instead, we're focusing on the specific techniques that you need to know to create modern CSS-based web pages of any style. For each technique or tool, we'll indicate which of the five characteristics it helps meet. To keep this shorter than an encyclopedia, we'll also just cover the basics of each technique, then point you to some useful, hand-picked resources to learn the full details.

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Modern CSS Layouts: The Essential Characteristics

Now is an exciting time to be creating CSS layouts. After years of what felt like the same old techniques for the same old browsers, we're finally seeing browsers implement CSS 3, HTML 5 and other technologies that give us cool new tools and tricks for our designs.

But all of this change can be stressful, too. How do you keep up with all of the new techniques and make sure your Web pages look great on the increasing number of browsers and devices out there? First you'll learn the five essential characteristics of successful modern CSS websites. In the second part of this article, you'll learn about the techniques and tools that you need to achieve these characteristics.

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We won't talk about design trends and styles that characterize modern CSS-based layouts. These styles are always changing. Instead, we'll focus on the broad underlying concepts that you need to know to create the most successful CSS layouts using the latest techniques. For instance, separating content and presentation is still a fundamental concept of CSS Web pages. But other characteristics of modern CSS Web pages are new or more important than ever. A modern CSS-based website is: progressively enhanced, adaptive to diverse users, modular, efficient and typographically rich.

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