5 Great Reasons to Learn a Little CSS

July 16, 2015

HTML is well known as the native language for web content—but its close counterpart CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is the language used to style, format, and present it.

CSS is incredibly powerful. It also has a reputation for being tricky to learn and even harder to master, but that’s not necessarily true.

CSS is straightforward to learn if you slow down and take it step by step. And it’s extremely helpful to know, even if you aren’t planning a career in web design.

Here’s why you should add a little CSS coding to your skills, and have some fun in the process:

1. Make business content beautiful.

HTML is a well-accepted format for internal publishing at most companies. From project plans to schedules to checklists and more, you can easily export or post HTML content in many ways and from many tools.

Sure, HTML supports basic text formatting, but CSS gives you a lot more to work with visually: page layout, typography, animation, effects, and more. With a little custom CSS, you can make mundane messages look marvelous, stark business reports look stunning, and your HTML emails look exceptional.

2. Customize content management systems.

WordPress, Tumblr, Squarespace … modern content management systems can provide endless varieties of pre-built themes and skins to customize their look and feel, but eventually you’ll want to step out of the box and make your themes more personal.

It can be tempting to hire a designer or front-end developer, but you might be surprised at how easy it is to customize your CMS with a little CSS savvy. Give it a shot!

3. Add a little animation.

CSS isn’t just for design anymore; the CSS 3 release added a ton of helpful animation properties into CSS to help build out interactive user interfaces and plug in-free web animations.

Before CSS3, web animations were largely written in JavaScript or Flash. Today CSS is a great solution for motion-based content; even better, it doesn’t require browser plug-ins. The web community is embracing this new realm of CSS, and cranking out some truly ground-breaking animated workheck out this archive at CodePen for some great examples of what you can do with CSS animation.

4. Speak natively with web teams.

One of the best reasons to know a bit of CSS doesn’t require you to build anything. Just having a baseline understanding of CSS, how it works, and what it’s capable of lets you have more informed, real-world conversations with your web designers and developers. The more you know about the medium of the web, the better you’ll be equipped to talk turkey with your tech team. And once you do, they won’t forget it (that’s a good thing).

5. Make your site mobile-friendly.

Responsive design is simply a CSS-based layout that adapts to whatever size screen it’s being displayed on. With CSS media queries, you can target specific styles and layouts to specific screen sizes, and make your site look fantastic anywhere it might be viewed: smartphones, tablets, connected TVs, desktop and laptop computers, and more.

If you really care about getting your content in front of as many eyes as possible, learning some responsive techniques with CSS is the best first step you can take.

Ready to learn CSS? Check out our CSS courses on lynda.com!