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Beyond over stuffed tables..

ixian asked 1 year ago
I have taught myself over the past 18 months or so, with the help of Deamweaver CS3, and some hands on training manuals, to create a website using tables. Apparently this is not the best way to do it anymore.

So what is the best format to use when creating simple, database free websites like mine?

10 Answers
allfreechips answered 1 year ago
Tables are and always will be a good design tool for users and SEO,, dont fall into the “We must all use strict CSS” its really not the case as all.

if you like for formatting your site, use the CSS, as you dont display data that really requires a table. Tables are mainly used for data that should be in rows/ colums not a complete layout but table work with all browsers, somthing CSS cant really say 100% yet!

hope thats not more confusing than you wanted but in short.

CSS – used for layouts, can go to hell in a different browser, clean code

Tables – Used mainly for displaying data, can be used for layouts but heavy code, works in all browers.

alexross answered 1 year ago
a few points..

– the less non content related stuff in your markup the better. you want a low code to content ratio.

– css is used to separate presentation from content (rather than putting all your style code in each page of your site). it is a web standard and as such, if you want to develop websites and expect users/bots/search engines to interact with your sites they should be compliant to standards (or published grammars) such as xhtml, html, html transitional and so on.

– Using an external stylesheet means you can make global changes on your site by editing usually just 1 css file.. it also means that your page size is smaller (due to not having to embed css or specify it for diff elements) and your page has more spiderable content and less kludge.

There is no excuse for using Tables for layout in this day and age imo.. there are literally thosands of free 100% CSS layouts (and tutorials) .. the most common being 2 column or 3 column css layouts.. Google is your friend.

If you are interested in Optimising, then your site should be optimal in every way possible.. thus CSS is not a choice, it’s a must.

ixian answered 1 year ago
alexross;165174 wrote:
…and your page has more spiderable content and less kludge.

Define “kludge”

Thanks Guys, points noted.

Dominique answered 1 year ago
I agree with Alex. G&C has a huge problem with nested tables everywhere, and we just started cleaning up the old dinosaur – not a small task with over 6000 pages.

Pages without tables CONVERT better too – the number of visitors who leave because of slower loading is high enough to make a difference there.

So it’s not simply a matter of SEO, it affects your conversions directly.

That said, we are running into some display problems – we do use some collumn/row type things and they can be problematic.

I am currently debating whether we need to change the entire look of the layout, or whether we should allow one table per page.

There is a thin line sometimes between better SEO and better visitor results. Taking a site that sports a huge number of return visits and changing the look and feel will alienate some loyal visitors. So – we are looking for a compromise.

allfreechips answered 1 year ago
Dont remove tables where tables fit.. making a site copmpletely css is usually a mistake, use CSS where is shines

Focal answered 1 year ago
Is it ok to use a table within a page to display data, even though css is used for the layout? Meaning, is there a BETTER way to display data that requires a table form rather than using a table, for SEO consideration?

Mark

JohnH answered 1 year ago

Is it ok to use a table within a page to display data, even though css is used for the layout? Meaning, is there a BETTER way to display data that requires a table form rather than using a table, for SEO consideration?

It is definitely ok to use a table within a page to display date. Often this is the best choice for displaying certain data.

Most webmasters want a tableless design these days to avoid having an entire website constructed with tables(this is where you have soooo much code). I do see some old sites with a ton of code from tables ranking quite well so I don’t really see it being too much of an issue.

The whole code to text ratio thing is still kinda new in terms of webmasters thinking about it when having their websites designed. And in my opinion I wouldn’t start worrying about that unless I just couldn’t understand why a website was outranking me, and then I discovered their code to text was drastically different than mine.

It’s one of those things that needs to be tested in certain situations. And I myself am not totally convinced that switching from a table only design to a css only design will provide much of an edge.

alexross answered 1 year ago
tablular data should be in a properly implemented table (with TH as well as TD tags etc.), for easy access and interpretation from assistive technology such as screenreaders..

(think of a blind guy trying to make sense of cell 200, row 200 in a big table.. the value contained in the cell is not good enough.. the user needs context.. (from the table headers etc) to know what the data means.. automatic programs (bots, spiders etc) and assistive technology rely on developers specifying data correctly in their markup (another example is using lists, for semantic grouping, rather than just a bunch of consecutive links.. the latter does not imply a relationship between the group, whereas the former does..)

JohnH answered 1 year ago

think of a blind guy trying to make sense of cell 200, row 200 in a big table

Good point but… think of a blind guy trying to play at an online casino. I always read all the time about having usability for people using screen readers etc, but is there a screen reader that works with online casinos or poker rooms?

And also is there not a screen reader that is sophisticated enough to process table format code and present it properly?

Good discussion btw

CasinoBonanza answered 1 year ago
I have been a web designer for about 11 years, and I always used to make the entire site from tables.

I was horrrifed when css came along, as I had to change the whole way that i designed sites.

Now though, I am completely in love with CSS layouts, they are so simple and clean, and require much less code. They also allow very quick changes across the whole site. eg Your site is blue and 780px wide, but you want to change it to green and 980px wide, requires just one line change in the styles.css.

As others mentioned you can still use tables for data tables such as comparing bonuses etc. Trying to do this using css can be very tricky!!