City and Borough of Juneau
155 S. Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
tel. 907-586-5240
fax 907-586-5385
http://www.juneau.org

Cascading Style Sheets

The CBJ website uses the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) architecture. This standard allows us greater freedom with design while increasing the accessibility of the content for our users. Using style sheets, we can make our content available to nearly all browser and computing platforms, including handheld and ADA devices, from the same page rather than maintaining "text only" or "printer friendly" duplicates of our pages.


Any Downside to CSS?

The only downside is that many older browsers are not style sheet compliant. The upside of the downside, however, is that style sheets are much kinder to non-compliant browsers than other web architectures (frames, for instance). Browsers that are not style sheet compliant will display the content of a CSS web page in a "text" format. Although it is not pretty, all the information (including links and images) is displayed. In fact, using style sheets, the web designer can control the order in which the content is displayed in a non-compliant browser without compromising how the site is displayed in compliant browsers. This ability alone is a major advantage of Cascading Style Sheets. This allows web pages to be tailored to both old and new browsers. As a website designer, I would much rather have my users say my web pages "look funny" than saying they "don't work."


CSS-Compliant Browsers

Most of the newer versions of the popular browsers are CSS-compliant. If your current browser is not stylesheet compliant, please click on one of the buttons below to download a compliant browser. For older systems (with slower processors and less memory), select the Opera browser. This browser has much lower system requirements than the other two.

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What Professionals Say About Cascading Style Sheets

Jakob Nielsen ("The Guru of Web Page Usability"--www.useit.com):
Cascading style sheets (CSS) are an elegantly designed extension to the Web and one of the greatest hopes for recapturing the Web's ideal of separation of presentation and content. The Web is the ultimate cross-platform system, and your content will be presented on such a huge variety of devices that pages should specify the meaning of the information and leave presentation details to a merger (or "cascade") of site-specified style sheets and the user's preferences.

Zeldman, www.alistapart.com--a site for web developers:
...Designing in accordance with these standards does not necessarily mean ending support for old browsers. It does mean looking long and hard at what that support entails. If you are deliberately deforming your markup to accommodate an increasingly small percentage of users, and if that deformation locks out other users (such as people with disabilities, or those who use Palm Pilots, Lynx, Braille readers, and other non-traditional browsing devices), you might consider upgrading your standards compliance even if the resulting sites look fairly ho-hum in old browsers. If your site is compliant and the content is accessible to all, you have probably done the right thing.



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