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Is CSS or tables better for modern web design? You’ll find proponents of both today and many web designers still refuse to use CSS (though, admittedly, most have moved on to CSS). Then there are the new web designers who do their work completely in CSS without the use of tables. I believe it’s important to know how to do both.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both tables and CSS. With CSS, if you want to update your website then you only have to make changes once. Your CSS file define the elements and by making changes in your CSS file, or stylesheet, then you don’t have to do it on every page of your website. This is very important if you have a large website.

Tables, however, are easy to design once you know how. They’re fairly simple. You design the parameters of your table and input the data. Done.

So which should you use? I think it depends. CSS is good for defining page elements that are common to all of the pages on your website. That includes background color, sidebar width, navigation menu characteristics, etc. Those things won’t change from page to page so you want them to be constant. And if you do need to make changes to them it is best to do that in one file rather than having to do it manually on every page of your site.

A table, on the other hand, is best used whenever you have a design element that is unique to a specific page. For instance, in your body copy you are listing neighborhoods you service. You can put them in a table so that they stand out on the page and are set apart from the rest of your content. Easy to scan, easy to read.

When it comes to web design, there are few hard and fast rules. The one you want to pay attention to the most is to think of your site’s user. That’s who your design is for.

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