CommunitySteve Smith on HTML5 and CSS3


writes on November 4, 2009

Next up in our series of web deisgn interviews is Steve Smith from Ordered List. Steve is a recognised authority on front-end development, interface design and is also the co-founder of Sidebar Creative. As an author, public speaker, and University of Notre Dame professor, he is passionate about sharing his knowledge with others.

Editor’s Note: Steve will be hosting a workshop on “How to build a HTML5/CSS3 Website Today” at The Future of Web Design New York on November 16-17 2009. You can buy your ticket online now.

What’s all the fuss about HTML5 and CSS3?

For me, the big deal is that the specifications are at least moving in the direction of how we have been using the web for the past five years or more, e.g. video, audio and user generated content. Developers have started to fall into habits (some good, some bad), and so the specs are trying to make those habits easier and more standardized. The structural tags, web forms, and advanced CSS are all letting us do the same things we’ve been doing for years, just in an easier, more standardized way.

Should designers start using HTML5 and CSS3 today?

If it feels right, and it’s right for your audience, absolutely. In my mind, we’re well past the point of having to make everything look the same for everybody on every platform, so progressive enhancement is key. In fact, we’re to the point where if we try and play equally to the lowest common denominator, we’re actually limiting the experience for those who use more modern technology. And that’s just not cool.

In your Future of Web Design New York workshop you will be delving deep into HTML5 and CSS3. What can attendees expect to go away with at the end of the session?

Ideally, what parts of these specs they can start using right now, and what they can look forward to in the coming months/years. There will be practical examples of some of the more powerful parts of HTML5 and CSS3 both, as well as looking into things that are only beginning to be supported.

I understand from Dan Rubin that “Harmony”, your CMS project, is nearing completion. Can you tell us a bit more about it and how it is different from other solutions?

Ha, word gets around, doesn’t it? Harmony is meant to be a way for developers to work with web writers and maintainers in a simple, but powerfully flexible way. We’re trying to walk a fine line between the easy content-creation of systems like WordPress, but with flexibility like that of Expression Engine. We’re not going to try and be all things to all people, but we’re really happy with how it’s turning out, and can’t wait to let people know more about it. For those interested, they will be able to find out more at

What’s the “Future of Web Design”?

Gradients. Lots and lots of gradients. Seriously, though, I think it’s taking the aspects of design, interface, and simplicity that we’re learning and spreading it to other industries. I see openings all over the market for small, niche web apps that meet real needs to people in specific markets other than our own. I see us web developers and designers digging into other careers and applying our knowledge of design to solve problems in new, creative ways through web technology. And that’s exciting.


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0 Responses to “Steve Smith on HTML5 and CSS3”

  1. these are very important and interesting times in this industry

  2. Very cool article and blog. Greeting from Poland

  3. lame lame, that is just silly & lazy of me. Should have poked around the site more before commenting. Of course u do have all full length videos/slides/audio records 🙂

  4. Really wish i could be there, but can’t.
    Do any kind of recorded video coverage or documentation follow for such FOWA/FOWD events that we folks in remote places can see n learn from?

  5. Very nice read! I hope your predictions will come true, would make our jobs even more fun and engaging!

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