All my web based work starts with HTML / CSS. Even when building out a custom CMS such as WordPress or Joomla, the foundation starts with HTML / CSS. I have built numerous standalone HTML sites that always use the latest standards provided by the W3C.
HTML / CSS is the foundation for the web. With the release of HTML 5 / CSS 3 it is now possible to create dynamic sites that would have required a 3rd party software such as flash a few years ago. It is important to building out a site that will be supported on the highest percentage of browsers. There are some older browsers that do not support some features as the more modern ones.
Naming is key:
A good HTML / CSS page should have properly named classes. I pride myself in sticking to a naming system that is easy to understand and is based on the elements of the page. The more logical the naming conventions are, the more time saved when it comes to future revisions or changing of pages.
Understanding the framework / CMS being used.
When beginning to develop the HTML / CSS for a web site build, it is important to understand the framework that is being used. This very well could determine the naming conventions used within the CSS as well as structure. A site that is built as a HTML / PHP site will not have the same considerations as one that will be developed on a CMS such as WordPress.
Keeping up with the latest standards:
It is important to keep up with the latest standards as provided by the W3C. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. Understanding how browsers interpret HTML will ensure the best possible end user experience on as many possible browsers. Older browsers, specifically older version of IE make this difficult. This is where understanding CSS “hacks” and “work-arounds” come into play.
Dealing with non-compliant standards:
When developing a site it is important to understand the limitations of older browsers and what will be supported. Many of the “cool” modern effects provided by CSS 3 will not be supported in older versions of IE such as versions 8 and 9. Communicating what platforms the website will work on is key to the end user experience as well as client satisfaction. This should be defined early in the development process.