Sam Brown

CSS3 is here and now, lets use it

The latest article on Smashing Magazine Take Your Design To The Next Level With CSS3 mentions my blog in an example of border-radius, and has stirred up a bit of controversy with Andy Clarke pointing out that many of the commenters are Fearful of CSS3 and how incompatibile it is with certain browsers. Do note SM comments are akin to those on YouTube.

Personally I don’t think we should be designing for the lowest common denominator, I don’t want my site to look IE6 in Safari, I want it to look Safari in Safari and IE6 in IE6, if you can catch my drift. So what if older browsers have square corners instead of rounded ones, or see a solid black instead of a semi-transparent black it doesn’t really matter, as long as they can see your content and navigate your site.

I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but I hope those of you who are web designers are starting to approach CSS3 and incorporate it into some of your latest projects, educating your clients as to why it should and can be used to enhance their site.

Post a link to this on Twitter ↩


Torbjørn Vik Lunde 16 June 2009, 01:18 #1

I guess there can be a middle-way as well. I’m experimenting with using some CSS3 in a new version of a site we are making. These are usually very subtle effects that the site can do fine without.

For now I’ve only used drop-shadow, but I might use corners some places as well.

These are very small details in the design, and don’t really change the overall design at all, but gives a little bit extra.

Ian P. Hines 16 June 2009, 01:21 #2

I absolutely agree with you. I didn’t go overboard with it or anything, but when I recently redesigned my site I incorporated border-radius on all of my off-colored areas: i.e., content bubbles (they look like bubbles!), search boxes, and (if I ever turn them back on) comment forms.

What is actually my favorite feature of your design is the way links fade in and out when on a:hover. It’s subtle, but adds an excellent quality.

Ian P. Hines 16 June 2009, 01:26 #3

Alright, the wobble on the sidebar links is pretty fantastic, too.

Alberto Calvo 16 June 2009, 02:05 #4

Totally agree. If we really want to push the new standards and take all their advantages, we must use them as much as we can. For me, there’s no problem if the site degrades well and the functionality is not compromised. I think it depends a bit of your client’s needs too… but hey, it’s about time to be able to do things without adding lots of markup, use nightmare techniques that could be solved in one line of CSS3.

Andy Marshall 16 June 2009, 03:38 #5

another member of the choir joining in here.

what I find frustrating about so many of the comments on fearful is the attitude of “nice stuff, but we’ll be stuck with css2.1 for another 10 years” etc – we will be if people carry on avoiding css3.

The only way I see its gonna change is by more and more people using css3 and creating the need for updated browsers.

demand does affect supply.

Rockers Delight 16 June 2009, 22:25 #6

Doesn’t it largely depend on the nature of your site? My work site, which sells landlord insurance, is mainly accessed by IE6/7 users (unfortunately). Because my income significantly depends on the success of the site, I can’t afford to alienate most of our user base. Having said that, I have incorporated a few CSS3 techniques that add a subtle difference (rounded corners and text shadow), but won’t alienate those who aren’t using up to date browsers.

I think I fit Andy Clarke’s theory perfectly, in that I am fearful of using these methods because they’re incompatible with dated browsers. It’s a bit of a catch 22, right? If we all use CSS3 then people would be more inclined to update their browsers, but in its current state, I’m scared of pushing away most of our potential customers.

Ashley Baxter, impostor.

Sam Brown 16 June 2009, 22:33 #7

@Ashley I don’t disagree with you, it will always ultimately depend on the visitors as to what you can and can’t use. Making easy rounded corners with CSS3 is great, IE users seeing square corners? Not a big deal.

If it was a major function of your site, absolutely don’t use a technique that could alienate your users, that would be massively counter-productive.

Yes we should be pushing forward and using the latest techniques as much as possible, providing it doesn’t break down the flow and functionality of a site in dated browser. That should be clear. Good point.

Zsolt 17 June 2009, 02:57 #8

I fully agree with you, designers have to push CSS 3, otherwise the change from CSS 2 will take ages. Good news is that Firefox beta already supports CSS 3 and will be out soon, Safari and Chrome fully support it, the only browser left behind is of course……. IE. There’s a rumor about IE 9, we’ll see :)

Anthony Proulx 17 June 2009, 10:54 #9

Your absolutely right. If we have new technology then lets use it. There is no sense to stay in the past bc its not compatible with all browsers. Chances are someone using ie6 doesn’t even know good design if it hit them in the head. So lets all push forward.

Joel Helin 18 June 2009, 15:51 #10

I recommend everyone to get a blog/portfolio/whatever to just go crazy on. Set up a blog to share experiences and try out new technologies as a digital playground.

Commenting has closed for this article. Feel free to me.

Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.