I was dipping my toe into CSS in a small way by the late 1990s, but the CSS movement has really caught fire lately, making it more of a religion. And I'm all for that.
But for beginning bloggers who may not know it, Typepad RULES in its aids to help you learn CSS a little bit at a time, just enough to be dangerous. I highly recommend its Custom CSS feature, where you can do as much or as little CSS as you like.
A good place to start is just to change the font of a pre-set template banner. Go on, you can do it! The Typepad custom templates are butt-ugly compared to the pre-sets. But quite often, the pre-set templates look slick, but have one or two features that are just jarringly awful. But all you have to do is look at that template's CSS, grab the teeny bit of offending typeface CSS code, and paste it into the Custom CSS field corrected with something better. Less than an inch of code. Nothing wonky about it at all.
While I haven't done a thing with the design of this site in quite some time (maybe I will mess with it again soon), the main thing I do with Typepad Custom CSS on other sites I build is put in custom banner images and make them 900 pixels wide, or more, if I'm in the mood. 900 is better than the overly-narrow Typepad templates, but it can be a little tricky to do. Let it be a challenge to you!
I figure in the land of CSS Zen below (and the CSS Garden of Zen site is pretty cool too, to see examples of what can be done), I'm at Steps 6,7, & 8. I never really got on the whole validating kick, although I can do it. But I am doing lots of basking and scoffing these days.
The evolution of a modern web designer. The 12 steps:
- Realize that CSS/XHTML design - separating content from presentation - is the wave of the future.
(BTW, this should have happened to you years ago)
- Start learning CSS.
- Start despising Internet Explorer and by proxy, Microsoft (even more than you already do).
- Spend countless hours learning CSS hacks and obscure bugs to make all the browsers play nice.
- Waste many hours of your life yelling at your screen.
- Build your very first validating CSS/XHTML website without a table in sight.
- Bask in your own glory and sense of accomplishment.
- Scoff at the work of others, develop an odd sense of grandeur and superiority over others.
- [Insert a montage here of you progressing in your work]
- Come to a very important realization that no one cares.
(No one except other coders/purists/CSS-nazis)
- (Optional) Realize there are people better than you at coding CSS and start outsourcing it.