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Professional CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design, Second Edition by Mark Trammell, Dunstan Orchard, Ethan Marcotte, Cindy Li, Todd Dominey, Christopher Schmitt

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Chapter 5. Stuff and Nonsense Ltd.: Strategies for CSS Switching

 

I have a switch in my apartment that doesn't do anything. Every once in a while I turn it on and off. On and off. On and off. One day I got a call from a woman in France who said "Cut it out!"

 
 --Stephen Wright

This is the chapter where we tell you to forget all that you have learned about CSS so far, to look beyond the surface of the pool and discover the truth within the truth. . . or something like that. (Honestly, we're more fun at parties than we might seem.)

After four chapters, it's worth remembering that as convenient as it is to site designers, cascading style sheets can also drastically improve the online experience for the users of your sites. In Chapter 1 you saw briefly how the cascade is written with users' needs in mind, and that user style sheets are ultimately given precedence over the author style sheets you write. The authors of the specification didn't do this to spite those that design for the Web, but rather to empower those who read it.

After all, the true wonder of the Web is its promise of universal access: an avenue through which a user can gain instant and complete entry to any topic, from anywhere in the world. In fact, much of the mantle you don as a Web designer is to honor that promise — to make sites that are at once visually compelling and with an interface that presents no barrier to entry.

However, designers have slowly come to realize that their understanding of their audience has been ...

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