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Chapter Six. XHTML: Restructuring the Web > Visual Elements and Structure

Visual Elements and Structure

“Web standards” abide not only in the technologies we use, but also in the way we use them. Writing markup in XHTML and using CSS to handle some or all layout chores doesn't necessarily make a site any more accessible or portable or any less of a bandwidth burster. XHTML and CSS can be misused or abused as easily as earlier web technologies were. Verbose XHTML markup wastes every bit as much of the user's time as verbose HTML ever did. Long-winded, overwrought CSS is not an adequate replacement for presentational HTML; it's simply one bad thing taking the place of another.

The guidelines in the earlier “Structural Healing” section can help avoid overly complex, semantically meaningless interior structures (body copy and so on). But what do we do about branded visual elements, such as site-wide navigation bars, which typically include a logo? Can these elements be structural? And must they be?


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