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Designing With Web Standards

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Recent ALA: Night of the Image Map. CSS Design: Creating Custom Corners and Borders. Retooling Slashdot With Web Standards II.

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Publications: books and articles by Jeffrey Zeldman


JEFFREY ZELDMAN IS the author of Designing With Web Standards (Indianapolis: New Riders, 2003, available at Amazon) and Taking Your Talent to the Web (Indianapolis: New Riders, 2001, also available at Amazon and elsewhere).

Our mini-site for DWWS  includes a downloadable table of contents, early reader reviews, and variously sized banners you can use on your site if you enjoy the book and wish to help promote it. The mini-site is still in progress; more will be revealed.

New Riders’s mini-site for DWWS includes two sample chapters for your downloading pleasure.

Our Talent book site from 2001 includes a downloadable PDF of Chapter 3, a gallery of alternative cover designs by Carlos Segura and others, a list of errata, and other handy features. Taking Your Talent to the Web won a five star (highest) rating at Amazon.

Articles & Publications

Zeldman publishes, directs, and writes for A List Apart, an independent online magazine “for people who make websites.” He is the author of numerous articles on design, content, and technology. Below is a partial index:

Coding for Easier Redesigns (@
Lead for the 17 October 2003 issue of Macromedia’s The Edge Newsletter. Although the words are new, the tune will be familiar to readers of Designing With Web Standards. “Coding for Easier Redesigns” explains how designers can make the transition to structural thinking, thereby saving their readers bandwidth and time, and saving themselves much future labor.
Style vs. Design (@
The essential difference between design, which solves problems, and style, which may convey brand attributes or nothing at all. Originally published August 2000.
99.9% of Websites are Obsolete (@ Digital Web Magazine)
Excerpted from Forward Compatibility: Designing & Building With Web Standards, to be released by New Riders in 2003. Originally published September 2002.
NYPL Style Guide (@ The New York Public Library)
Understanding XHTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): a complete tutorial, co-authored with Carrie Bickner of The New York Public Library. Originally published October 2001.
To Hell with Bad Browsers! (@ A List Apart)
The article that prompted thousands of designers to learn CSS layout and to use CSS instead of tables even when that meant hiding the design from old browsers. A nutritious part of ALA Issue No. 99, in which we converted to CSS layout and challenged ALA’s 65,000 readers to do the same. Many did. Originally published 16 February 2001.
Fix Your Site With the Right DOCTYPE (@ A List Apart)
You’ve done everything right, but your site is breaking in the latest browsers. A faulty DOCTYPE is likely to blame. This essential ALA article will provide you with DOCTYPEs that work, enabling you to fix your site with just one tag. Originally published April 2002.
Better Living Through XHTML (@ A List Apart)
Everything you wanted to know about converting from HTML to XHTML, including why you’d want to, tools that help, changes in the way browsers display XHTML pages, shortcuts, bugs, workarounds, and other tips you won’t find elsewhere. Originally published February 2002.
Fear of Style Sheets 4: Give Me Pixels, or Give Me Death! (@ A List Apart)
The fourth and final entry in our “Fear of Style Sheets” series that evangelized CSS while offering workarounds for the nightmarish flaws in then-current implementations. In this final installment, we pointed out why pixels offered the only sure means of visual control across browsers and platforms (if visual control was what you needed). We showed why other methods failed (and most still do) and acknowledged that the pixel method came at a high cost in terms of accessibility. We urged browser makers to (a.) fulfill their promise to properly support CSS and (b.) include a mechanism that would allow users to resize text set in pixels. Originally published sometime in 2000.
Why Don’t You Code For Netscape? (@ A List Apart)
The case for authoring to web standards (and thus, for all browsers and devices) rather than bending over backwards to accommodate the quirks of non–compliant browsers. Introduced the term “forward compatibility.” Originally published December 2001.
Where Have All the Designers Gone? (@
If the best designers abandon structure, content, and the hassle of dealing with clients, who will be left to build the web? Originally published February 2000.
I See Dancing Beans (@ Mappa Mundi Magazine)
The horror of commercial (dot-com) web culture in its final moments of glory. Originally published December, 1999. Had things been different, this might have been the initial entry in My Glamorous Life. But then it would have lacked the iconic layout devised by Webchick, Mappa Mundi’s creative director at the time.
Slouching Toward Authorship (@ A List Apart)
It’s time for web designers to stop defining themselves as mere vendors, and begin thinking like independent content creators. Originally published in 1999, this article articulated many concerns of the independent content movement.
Web Publishing Secrets: Make Websites That Work for All (@ Macworld Magazine)
Debut of Macworld “Web Secrets” column focuses on using web standards to deliver your content to all web browsers while tailoring better experiences for better browsers. Originally published September 2001.
Reconcilable Differences (@ Macworld Magazine)
Online version of Macworld how–to article for Macintosh users who want to design websites without running afoul of cross–platform compatibility problems. Originally published July 2000.

Over a year’s worth of Zeldman columns for PDN-Pix Magazine are no longer available online but may be found in a library near you.

Additional entries in the Macworld Secrets column are no longer being posted at Macworld’s website. Nor is much other recent Macworld Magazine content being posted on the magazine’s site. Many print magazines have scaled back online operations. This may change if the economy improves. Meanwhile, check your local library.

Additional Zeldman design columns for Adobe are available at if you look around.

A complete listing of all or most Zeldman articles For A List Apart, Adobe, High Five, Macworld, PDN-Pix, Crain’s Creativity, and other sites and periodicals is available on an old page of this site, but the page is no longer maintained and we cannot vouch for the accuracy of all links. Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.