As I move further and further into using CSS to lay out my web pages I have found that it requires a shift in my mental model of a web page. I am moving to a semantic system for labeling sections of a page so that my CSS is easier to update and change over time. This means labeling things not by how they look but by what they are. So instead of ‘Red Arrow’ I use the label ‘Page Indicator’ which is less constricting if I don’t want to use a red arrow to mark pages in the future and more meaningful for anyone else (including my future self) who reads the code.
My design process is also evolving as I go. The information architecture is becoming clearer and better defined on my current projects as I start to really examine the function of each element of my designs, both visual elements and text. I have found that using CSS and working toward XHTML compliance in my designs has led to better organized pages and sites. This is of course not inherent to CSS or XHTML but it is a side effect of thinking about how I use these new technologies.
Have using these or other new technologies prompted changes in your design practices? I’d be interested to hear how.