CSS3 Multi-column layout considered harmful

A recent A List Apart article, Introducing the CSS3 Multi-Column Module, explains how the CSS3 Multi-column layout module works, and provides a JavaScript workaround to cover up for browsers that do not support it.

“Wow, multiple columns in CSS!”, you may think at first. Well yes, wow indeed, but please do think about it a little longer. Have you ever tried reading an article that is displayed in a multi-column layout on-screen? I have, and in my opinion it sucks. Especially if the article is longer than just a few paragraphs.

However, splitting an article into several columns may be fine, if:

  • there is no need to scroll up and down while moving your reading focus from one column to the next
  • there is no need for horizontal scrolling
  • there is no paging - I prefer having everything on a single page, and it makes printing much easier
  • it doesn’t make lines too short to read comfortably
  • text is not justified

The CSS3 Multi-column layout module is not new; it’s been around since 1999. As far as I know, the only browsers that support it are the very latest versions of Mozilla and Firefox. And just maybe we should hope that it stops there.

Will there be designers who misuse multi-column layouts by splitting long articles into several columns, ignoring that it will force readers to scroll up and down and fight against line lengths too short to be comfortable?

Or even worse, will some go completely overboard and implement something similar to the paging used at the International Herald Tribune?

The risk of that happening is obvious. Too many designers value “creativity” above readability, usability, and accessibility.

Using multiple columns in a print stylesheet may be useful, but on-screen, for longer articles? No. Face it, the web is not a printed magazine.

Update: Richard Rutter has similar thoughts on this: More on multi-column layouts.

Posted on September 28, 2005 in Accessibility, CSS, Usability

Comments

  1. You know, I can see a whole vista of columned blogs. Not because it makes thing better, simply because it’ll make all the design bloggerati feel like they’re coming off as aloof.

    People have to start rethinking what they’re doing. Ten thousand self-purported “design” blogs. I see ten thousand style blogs.

    Style. Design. Someday we’ll learn the difference.

  2. I agree that the 3-column layout is not good for 3 columns of copy. But the example they included in that ALA article shows something that could possibly be useful: a 3-column UL for navigation or advertising.

  3. As long as the column height isn’t so high that you have to constantly scroll up and down I don’t mind it - though it is annoying to have to click on multiple pages for long articles.

    It could be useful to keep more information above the fold with shorter line lengths though.

  4. On the other hand, I would very much like to see a multi-column model developed in which (a) the line length is suitable for reading and (b) the column length is limited to the screen window, so that (c) you read articles by scrolling only to the side instead of downward. In other words, the layout resembles an ancient Near Eastern scroll.

    Aye, the web is not a printed magazine. But why should the vertical axis be the only one along which a web page may comfortably expand?

  5. Everything else aside, I think that a multi-column, horizontal layout would be confusing.

    First, due to expected behaviour. Too few users realize they actually can scroll horizontally (trust me on this one — I’m speaking from on-the-ground experience).

    Second, with longer articles, imagine trying to find your place in, say, 15 nearly-identical-looking horizontal columns if you accidentally scroll too far over.

    Third, what about anchors, which would (at best) take you to the proper column, but wouldn’t be able to scroll your browser vertically to get you to exactly the proper spot…

    I’d say for print, this technique might be useful, or for trendy “designer” blogs, where the target audience is aware of the horizontal scroller and fairly adept at finding their place. Otherwise…

  6. That is to say, our reliance on the vertical is based on an assumption—which isn’t necessarily so. Why not enable one to use horizontal expansion and scrolling, not in addition to the vertical, but instead of it?

  7. Very few mice have horizontal scroll wheels. The moment the page is even one pixel higher than the screen, we’re back to scrolling by hitting those tiny buttons (unless we use the keyboard).

    I agree with Blair about the page hashes.

  8. I think this is just fear of progression, having another option is something to be celebrated, sure a three column layout won’t work for every situation, jeez c’mon now - does this really have to be said? For sites presenting a small amount information or alternative content as has been stated above, this will work great.

    As for it being used by bloggeratti, it most probably will be, but then thats bloggers foe ya, and why should we only listen to those that shout the loudest - especially when they are detracting from the very standards they supposedly championing… and when this does becomes a standard used by browsers, won’t we also be looking at an increased browser size again - Three columns on a 768+ =fine.

    Will there be bad designers, yes unfortunately, but does that really mean we should will scuttle the ship and stay where we are?

    I think there are probably too few web designers who actually value creativity now, - many have themselves become users of whatever the next all singing and dancing blog software is, and now operate themselves wholly within the realm of a user…

    To see a designer use a dumb quote around creativity is itself dumb, and that is the problem here… Might it be that for all the value you impart on your ‘tufteian’ outlook, people will innately prefer things that have been designed not by a series of committees agreeing upon defined line lengths, but a truly creative mind?

    The word article itself refers to the printed medium, and although it doesn’t take a creative leap to see that the web is not printed matter, it is still a document, and one only made valid by creative input.

  9. “To see a designer use a dumb quote around creativity is itself dumb”

    It is, isn’t it. This alone should invalidate my point.

    It must be because I’m so used to my singing and dancing blog software educating those damned quotes for me.

    As for me being a designer, I’ve averred time and again that I am no designer. Merely a painter. And as I always say, everyone knows painters get nothing done.

    Go look at my site. It’s not design site. Just a respoitory of my thoughts, uploaded one at a time as seems natural.

  10. Too few users realize they actually can scroll horizontally (trust me on this one — I’m speaking from on-the-ground experience).

    Users know how to scroll vertically because they were at one point required to learn to scroll vertically in order to navigate an application. This would seem to imply that users are capable of learning. If they can learn to scroll vertically, why not horizontally?

    A good set of columnar tools will be a potentially very important addition to the web designer’s toolbox. Ensuring that they are used properly is the designer’s responsibility, just like everything else in the CSS specification; it’s quite possible to make bad, inaccessible websites already!

    While I think the current module needs some improvement (I’d prefer a model closer to what Michael has outlined above), I’m not prepared to accept that there is anything inherently wrong with content flowing into a second vertical column.

  11. September 28, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Sorry, quotes aren’t educated in comments. I use typographer’s quotes in my posts though…

  12. September 28, 2005 by Tomas Jogin

    I’ve got to agree with you here Roger, web pages aren’t newspapers and newspapers aren’t web pages.

  13. September 29, 2005 by mmmbeer

    Here’s what we decided to do: use it only for print. The way that they’re currently implemented, if the content is less than a page, it applies two columns. If not, regular text.

    Next trick: getting multiple columns on multiple pages.

  14. Sorry, i didn’t mean to rant on, I just think of “guys” in “presentations” doing that “stupid” thing with their “fingers”…

  15. The idea has potential, if used with discretion and in the right circumstance, especially for presenting page information formatted for printing.

    Like many such things, it will either find a useful place or be abused so much that it gets deprecated from subsequent versions much as the blink tag has done in HTML.

  16. I can envisage instances when single article multi-column layouts will be of worthwhile use, but float:left and judicious use of divs could achieve very similar results now, if one so desired (mint being an example)?

    Condoning multiple columns through the existence of a valid CSS rule - is that what you consider harmful?

    I must go read the CSS3 specs, is there anything truly useful in there like element based drop shadows or rounded/bevelled corners? Improved font support? Multi-column layouts via CSS3 does seem a bit un-inspiring…

  17. Oh my! I think we’re all missing something here, this CSS can be used to improve our column based layouts!

    Instead of floating, why not use this method and add a column break (something for the CSS group to look at perhaps?) where needed?

    It would give us control over the entire background of the colum and let us emulate table based layouts, while allowing us to use liquid and zoomable layouts.

    Perhaps it can be used on screen too?

  18. Hi/Hej

    Well, you say it yourself - you could use it for media=”print”

    Other than that, the higher matters as someone pointed out. If the height is ok, then what’s the fuss about? The herald tribune site is perfectly fine with me - what’s your problem with that? Even if the height is too large, the scroll-wheel on the mouse could be used, within reason…

    Rowan makes a good point, and so does erm.

  19. “The risk of that happening is obvious. Too many designers value “creativity” above readability, usability, and accessibility.”

    Then they’re not designers. The entire purpose of design is to get a point or idea across as quick as possible, if that requires scrolling all over the place, then it’s failed.

    I think multiple columns is fine; if it’s used correctly. Everyone else in here who mentioned watching the height is dead on… as long as the user doesn’t get lost in the layout, then it may be a better design element rather than scrolling vertically down the screen.

    Also it’s been brought up in here that web isn’t print and print isn’t web. Now, you’re all partly right. Web isn’t print, but over the years, has been falling back on old print traditions and rules. For example, we are all trained to read across and down a single page (vertical scrolling), not across a two page spread (horizontal scrolling). So horizontal scrolling on a site, isn’t a good idea for readability. therefore stacking multiple columns together off-screen is a bad way to show important information. If it’s for artistic purposes, then well, it’s art, and not design.

    Where web isn’t print is exactly like a newspaper. We have a neverending (if needed) vertical digital canvas at our fingertips; there’s no need to scroll vertically through one column of copy, and then have to scroll all the way back to the top for the next. There’s no real need to cram as much copy as needed, all into the top of the screen.

    So, am I for multiple columns? Sure, if it’s used right (which for a majority of the time probably won’t be). But is a specific CSS command needed? No. This will just allow users to use it badly, because now there is no specific worry to height. You can just insert a block of text and tell it how many columns, instead of having to float elements and fine tune it for the screen.

  20. Really, Roger, you’re so much better. I normally find your writing much more considered—and valid, for that matter—than this. The most you could come up with is, “I don’t like it?” I was going to argue against this, but frankly, but I question it being worth the time at this stage.

  21. Erm…sorry for any confusion. Some bits of my comment that appeared fine in preview got munged on post.

  22. September 29, 2005 by Kevin Navia

    I might use multi-columns on print-styles… but not for screen reading.

    Some people hate the fact that they ‘have’ to scroll to continue reading something. Moreso if you made them zig-zag for it.

  23. “The risk of that happening is obvious. Too many designers value creativity above readability, usability, and accessibility.”

    I don’t really see how multiple columns affects acessibilty. It’s a CSS stylesheet, so it doesn’t affect the structure of the underlying data. In fact, I think a CSS implementation of columns is great, because it means I can turn it off on my browser if I don’t like it.

    Also, perhaps the limitation isn’t in columns, but in your interface to your browser. If it was super-easy to scroll up and down I think it would be no problem at all to have multiple columns. I’d certainly prefer scrolling up and down to trying to read 40 column lines, or having half my browser window unused.

    Perhaps a simple browser extension that helps you scroll and guides your eye to the next column would solve your problem?

  24. September 29, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Ok, first of all, this post is based on my personal opinion regarding multi-column layout. When expressing my personal opinion, am I not allowed to say that something sucks if I think it does? I admit that the “considered harmful” bit was added to catch a few eyes. I had no idea that considered harmful was considered harmful. Sorry about that. Maybe I’ll go change the title of this post. Or not.

    Anyway, splitting a post/article/text into several columns may be fine, If:

    • there is no need to scroll up and down while moving your reading focus from one column to the next
    • there is no horizontal scrolling - it is just too awkward. I have to either buy a new mouse that has a horizontal scrollwheel or use the horizontal scrollbar.
    • there is no paging - I prefer having everything on a single page, and it makes printing much easier
    • it doesn’t make lines too short to read comfortably
    • text is not justified

    Multi-column layout can definitely be used well for some things, but I just don’t see the point in trying to emulate newspapers on-screen.

  25. September 29, 2005 by Gary Turner

    I have looked forward to having flowed columns available. I sometimes need the content to use the entire page width, and would find it helpful to break that content into 2 or 3 short columns rather than have unreadably wide lines of text. I think it is a power that will be greatly misused, though.

    An earlier comment included this;

    It would give us control over the entire background of the colum (sic) and let us emulate table based layouts, while allowing us to use liquid and zoomable layouts.

    We already have that. See all the table- values for the display property. When a certain mentally challenged browser gets on board with css2, we’ll be able to do a lot of stuff a lot easier. But, that’s a whole ‘nuther thing than flowed columns.

    gary

  26. True Gary… Darn Internet Explorer!

    Anyhow, I feel that columns should be part of the standard, partly because you can then make very nice print layouts with it.

  27. Multi-column layout can definitely be used well for some things, but I just don’t see the point in trying to emulate newspapers on-screen.

    Isn’t the point the exact same reason why it’s used on paper — that it allows us to have readable-length lines while still using all the available screen/paper real estate?

    Your preference may be for a long column that scrolls down a lot (and thus having a lot of unused space) but mine is for multiple columns. At least this CSS3 feature allows us to co-exist (you can edit your browser’s stylesheet accordingly).

  28. Just a simple question: anyone checked how the latest Mozilla products behave when printing multi-column layouts that span across several pages? I’m just curious.

    I can see that the proposed JS extension could have problems like the first column spanning across say 100 pages then wrap to the second column starting on the first page (that would be pretty impossible to read).

    The other thing is that Firefox has problems when rendering several-pages-long floated elements.

  29. September 29, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Su: (Comment #20) I’ve taken the time to read the essay you linked to, and it makes sense to me. Consider this my first and last “considered harmful” essay (if you can even call this short rant an essay).

  30. It made sense to me, too—and yet this discussion has been productive in readdressing our assumptions regarding print, screen, and page-space in both media. So I’m not sorry Roger brought the subject up.

  31. The first 3 qualifications you give that would make a column layout okay can be combined to just say “if the article isn’t too long”. Obviously if the article can’t be contained in a single screen it will need either paging or scrolling. I find it odd that you say paging is somehow worse than scrolling, and you don’t really give any reason. I love the paging at International Herald Tribune (I’m not vouching for its accessibility). You are going to see a LOT of websites that look like that. Clicking the same place every time is much better, and more natural, than scrolling down endlessly. You can have a fixed footer, header, and menu.

  32. September 29, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Rube: Paging forces me to:

    1. realise that the site uses paging
    2. find a paging link
    3. position the cursor over it (or tab to it)
    4. activate it
    5. wait for the next page to load
    6. find where on the page the article continues

    Paging also complicates printing.

    If the page scrolls vertically all I need to do is use my scrollwheel (or arrow keys) to scroll. Quicker, easier, and less distracting.

  33. In all fairness, ALA’s article was about multi-column lists, not multi-column articles.

    Off topic, but thanks for the selector article :) eagerly awaiting part 2.

  34. Damn - where is the comment delete button. I though you were referring to the “CSS Swag” article - didnt even notice their previous article.

    My apologies. I think I will go reread the “Guide to weblog comments” article :(

  35. I think that the issue is not how a 3 column layout looks, the issue is the freedom to have such capabilities. Before this proposed rule, it was impossible to do without javascript, now we have the hope to replace the javascript with one line of css.

    Of course not until the current generation browsers are put to rest.

  36. I agree with Paul - the issue is to have a choice. I’d prefer to have a choice.

    Actually, multi-column CSS properties may be very useful for short articles which would take 2-3 columns and still fit the browser window. It would be available today with no need for new browsers.

    Would it be applicable for longer articles? It might be if only a proper pagination would be provided by UAs within the same document.

    I’d prefer to read a long article on-screen in a way resembling the paper - page by page. Or screen by screen. However, the content should be divided into columns that fit the browser window and then into pages or screens. Reading such an article would be very similar to reading a long one-column article. Hitting space on the keyboard would scroll down (or right maybe) a screen and bring next part. This way of using multiple columns wouldn’t make any problems with printing as the content would be divided in similar way - page by page.

    I think it would be very intuitive to use.

  37. October 1, 2005 by Mislav

    Greg above has written just what I was about to add. Unfortunately, CSS3 spec doesn’t define such interactivity - it would have to be solved by scripting. I’m working on it by expanding a script we all know of :-)

  38. October 1, 2005 by Ed Gurney

    “Not because it makes thing better, simply because it’ll make all the design bloggerati feel like they’re coming off as aloof.”

    Columns are easier to read than page-wide text. That’s why newspapers and magazines use them. I have often wished for this ability. The notion that it will be done so that the page designer may feel aloof is ludicrous and insipid: Although certainly, like any other tool, it may be used poorly.

    Perhaps what we need is the

    be-ass: false;

    tag.

  39. I agree. At first glance, I was impressed with that ALA article, but after thinking about it, I’m leaning more towards your opinion. I do think it would be pretty awesome for a print style-sheet though, to format a page newspaper style when printing an article. That would make it easier on the reader when on-screen (normal layout), and easier on the read on-paper (column layout).

  40. Roger, you are so right. The web is not print media. We need to wrap our brains around that. Design and content have a much closer relationship on the web, and if the design is irritating your content may be the greatest but no one is going to be looking at it. 2-Columns? 3-columns? That’s okay when I’m reading the IHT, but I don’t want to read the IHT all day. Thanks for a good and thoughtful piece.

  41. Oh my… well we’re really doomed now :D

  42. October 3, 2005 by Chapteryx

    Lots of interesting comments, but only Ed acknowledges WHY multi-column formats have become the norm in print media like newspapers.

    The ocular ergonomics of a thinner column have immediate benefits, permitting much faster scanning and comprehension because the eye does not need to bounce left and right. That’s what “easier to read” means, as well as a standardised font and size to which our brains became accustomed.

    I’m sure we’re not alone in finding wide column text more difficult to scan or read quickly, and providing the mechanism to do the same on a screen can only improve the choices: sometimes it will be nice, sometimes it will “suck”.

    Newspapers don’t generally offer more than 4 columns on an article, because, as noted in comments above, the brain has trouble “remembering” which column to go to next. With a newspaper, there is a strict maximum vertical height, which assists maintaining our position, and perhaps multi-column will indeed only be employed when the page doesn’t exceed the viewport.

    As for horizontal scrolling being alien ? Well, unlimited vertical scrolling used to be an alien concept too, but then scrolling a standard character-based data stream turned out to be really useful in monitoring output, and later we got scrollbars on a user interface. It’s great to have a wheel on the mouse to assist vertical scrolling, but it was an ergonomic convention that took flight and is now hard to put in perspective. It wasn’t necessary, and was not necessarily the best solution, but we got it now, and we live with it. Remember Beta and VHS, anyone ?

    You don’t need a horizontal wheel any more than you need a vertical wheel. Roll-over hotspots work just great for manipulating scrolling text, or for any application where content doesn’t fit in it’s assigned box. That box is sometimes a row, sometimes a column, sometimes a middle or lower section, and sometimes it’s the entire viewport. But we don’t have an industry promoting roll-over hotspots like we have an industry building multi-button mice.

    Note that some mice have the wheel “up top”, and they are perfectly adapted to a horizontal model already.

    It’s not the end of the world having an “option” to use multi-column splitting. How many ghastly websites and pages have you seen ? Thousands ? Do you suggest removing these “tools that are dangerous in the hands of children” ?

    No, you’d never dream of that, cause you might lose your own access. Style, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

    Let’s promote and encourage the implementation: it’s innovation and creates opportunity for creativity. We can later marvel at the wonders that have been accomplished, and rant and scream or simply laugh at the messes. If a site “sucks”, then it will lose it’s audience, no ?

    But as noted, it would be nice to get CSS2 implemented properly in “that” browser first, and then we could all concentrate on more of this content and form, instead of bodgy hacks.

  43. Columns are easier to read than page-wide text. That’s why newspapers and magazines use them. I have often wished for this ability. The notion that it will be done so that the page designer may feel aloof is ludicrous and insipid: Although certainly, like any other tool, it may be used poorly.

    For certain, in print situations, columns have a purpose and increase readability. On screen is a completely different matter. Imagine having to scroll down to finish reading one column, then scrolling back up to start the second, etc.

    Neither readability nor usability will be benefitted by adding this capability to browsers. Better design and understading why column width should be limited in the first place will benefit both usability and readability.

    I might jsut be a painter, but I know that giving creative people with limited design skills access to a “cool” tool like multiple columns will do little, if anything, to make the web a better place.

    If my opinion turns out to be wrong, you’ll see me admit it.

  44. October 4, 2005 by Adam

    Adrian—

    Did your daddy make you prove that you had good design taste before he bought you your first copy of photoshop?

  45. Did your daddy make you prove that you had good design taste before he bought you your first copy of photoshop?

    My father made me learn how to change oil in a car before I was allowed to get my drivers license, but I don’t see how that has anything to do with airbags being a benefit to safety in cars.

    I bought my first copy of Photoshop. Version 2.5, if I recall correctly. I’ve been involved in web development since Netscape 0.98b, and I still refuse to call myself a designer. I have an art background, not a design background.

    Oh wait. I see it now. Silly me, I missed the attempt at scathing wit. I’ll try harder, really.

    The web is not print. Columns work in print because the publishers are meeting TWO distinct requirements: that the publication be readable, and that it make the most efficient use of the expensive paper it is printed on.

    As web developers, we’re not limited by the cost of paper. Because we have a diferent set of problems, a different set of solutions is required. Making the publication readable can be done without resorting to the solutions of another medium.

    There are times and places when design issues faced by web developers and print designers are similar, or identical, in which case it makes sense to use the extensive experience of the print industry to our advantage.

    Multiple column layout such as described is not one of those situations.

  46. I’ll second Chapteryx’s initial observation: that a technique should be evaluated by how well, and why, it works in the situation under examination. “The web is not print media” is true, but if taken too far becomes irrelevant. All it means is that we are not required to use the tricks of one medium in another. It should not be understood as meaning we must avoid doing so.

  47. October 7, 2005 by Josh

    What’s stopping you from putting this in your user stylesheet?

    @media screen {
      body, div, p {
        column-count: 1 !important;
      }
    }
    

    Web page authors hopefully will realize that columns aren’t such a hot idea on the screen, and the ones who don’t shall meet the wrath of my user stylesheet.

  48. October 7, 2005 by ravisu

    Research has shown that the reason why newspapers have several columns is to promote faster reading. The eye scans each line from left to right till the end, and then has to track back diagonally down and to the left to the beginning of the next line. When columns are small, the eye is able to scoot back faster and more accurately. Longer lines more often than not cause the eye to miss the next line or lose track during the track back. Hence multi-column layouts actually make it easier to read an article. I love the IHT site for this very reason.

  49. October 8, 2005 by heikkinen

    Having done some magazine layouts in my studies, I think that columns on a webpage is a very bad idea because browsers are lacking one crucial element: hyphenation.

    With columns, you have drastically shorter lines, and if you don’t hyphenate your text, you’ll end up with a really wavey right side. That’s ugly, and I suspect it ain’t that good on readability either. At worst times you might end up with lines that have as much as one third of empty whitespace. Especially true in Finnish, my native language, that by nature has really, really long words. (‘also in our cars’ translates to ‘autoissammekin’… fit THAT in a column!)

    Office products have hyphenation for many languages. Adobe products have hyphenation too. I’m surprised that browsers (or OSes) are still so backwater about this.

    W3C, if you’re listening… Columns without hyphenation: bad bad idea.

  50. October 9, 2005 by BestSeller

    When columns are small, the eye is able to scoot back faster and more accurately. Longer lines more often than not cause the eye to miss the next line or lose track during the track back.

    Actually, that depends on other factors. When you use long lines that go to the edge, your eye will react faster than if you had a margin. If you want to use a relatively big margin, you should use a narrow text. It also depends on line height.

    Reference: text margin width influences

  51. I think that this module is a very good idea. However, as the DIV element quickly went from being “the savior of tables,” to the now oftenly abused element we know today; this element will go the same way. With the inclusion of media=”print” I think that it would be stellar. But, as less knowledgable designers begin to catch on and throw it in as a screen effect, we will begin to get into trouble. Personally I don’t feel like scrolling up, down, left and right just to read the article at hand.

  52. I have one word:

    Tofu.

  53. Good stuff Roger, lots of discussion on this one. I am looking forward to the multi column layout though I wonder how soon IE will support it as well. I will definately try the multi column layout for screen, just for the pure heck of it. You see before we try it en mass we don’t know if it will work. I come from the print industry myself so I’m partial to the thing.

    I think that if people are used to reading columns on paper then it should work on screen as well with one but, that you don’t have to scroll up and down (that would be a pain). Lets not treat the possibilities as illegitimate but ;-) lets see what a beautiful individual it might turn into.

  54. Actually that tofu thing is not bad. One of the reasons columns are good is “Text is usually very wide on the screen, which makes going from the end of one line to the beginning of the next difficult. That’s why newspapers have narrow columns: It makes them faster to read.”

  55. November 1, 2005 by anonymous

    Oh damn, I needed to scroll up from the comments to get to your main navigation.

    Looks like its lose lose.

    Seriously, sort of, most articles on the web aren’t worth a damn, so it doesn’t matter if they are multi-column.

  56. I know this pretty late but I have started playing around with a columned horizontal scrolling site. Very early days but there could be some merit. Click my name above. Firefox 1.5 needed, of course.

  57. I’ve started playing around with it as well. Check out my alternative stylesheet, “Modern.” (Click on my name; Firefox only.) It is something of an organized mess at the moment.

    I’m finding that I have to use borders, automatic numbering, (though I obviously suck at that—imagine all the “A“‘s in alphabetically order and all the zeros as their respective letter), and drop caps out of complete and utter fear of reader confusion. I’ll also be anticipating the Firefox implementation of the pseudo-class: nth-child so I can alternative the colors of the background of each section.

    Needless to say I disagree with the author’s opinion on almost every point, and most everybody here on the issue of scrolling. Between page anchors and ctrl+home, I’m thinking those issues will be overcome as savvy surfers continue to populate.

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