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CSS design guidelines for offshore outsourcers


My struggle with outsourcing of design continues.  A couple of weeks ago I told all of you guys about the issues I was having with getting offshore designers.  Some of you told me that I should cut my losses and just find someone in San Francisco who can meet with me and bang out a design in a day.  I figured that I am going to keep working through it because I already had too much vested interest with these fellas. On top of it I am also using Elance Escrow so I already have a deposit that I can’t easily get back.

These guys finally came up with an acceptable design and now it’s time to actually slice it and put it into CSS.  I can already tell that it’s probably going to be amateur and crappy so I figured I’m going to save a few round trips by writing up some guidelines.


I am not a full time web designer, however I’ve been managing engineering teams for close to ten years now so I think that general engineering principles and some basic SEO understanding can be helpful.

Here are the rules I came up with and found on the web:

1) All the text besides the logos should be in text - no text via images.
2) No styles in the HTML files - all styles should be in CSS.  Search for font, color, and alignment; make sure there is nothing like that anywhere besides CSS.  If there is a need leave a comment behind for why that was necessary.  Having those elements without a good reason will result in your work getting rejected.
3) All the logical elements should be together - font information together, height width together within the individual style instructions.
4) Add comments to sections explaining the logical grouping
5) All the values should align for readability using tabs.  For example

.smallBox {
height: 100px;
width: 200px;
background: white;


font-family: tahoma;
font-size: large;
}


6) Do not use tables - just DIVs.  If you had to use a table leave a comment for why it was necessary.
7) Most if not all of the DIVs should have corresponding classes.  If you can't think of a class for the div, then you probably shouldn't have a div for it.
8) Combine elements if they are totally duplicate styles for example:

h2, h3 {
color: blue;
}

9) Test CSS instructions on IE 8+, FireFox 3.5+ , Chrome and Safari 4+, style and XHTML validators.


Of course I tried to leverage as many things on the web as I could.  A lot of these rules are borrowed from the following sources:
http://woork.blogspot.com/2008/11/useful-guidelines-to-improve-css-coding.html
http://wiki.songbirdnest.com/Developer/Articles/Style_Manual/CSS_Guidelines
http://groups.drupal.org/node/6355
http://ngocthuytran.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/30-css-best-practices-for-beginners/

Did I miss anything?  Feedback is welcome.  Post comments here or find me on twitter @mikebz

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