Tableless Design Can be a Problem Across Browsers
I think the biggest problem I currently have with tableless design is that it that it can be a problem displaying on different browsers. Table design has already gone through these growing pains. I rarely find an issue anymore with a browser or operating system displaying a tabled design inaccurately. The browser code has been refined over a decade and a half to make rendering HTML pretty consistent. Tableless design is way behind the curve here. Browsers rarely render sites exactly the same and tableless design is subject to all the compatibility problems sites used to encounter 10 years ago.
It is common to see rendering mistakes on tableless sites, even ones built by large specialized design firms. In many cases, it doesn’t bother me. If a picture bumps to the left a few extra pixels, who cares? The problem is that it can often render so poorly that text gets cut off or overlapped. That’s a major problem. That is a problem that can negatively effect the user experience and site conversion.
Having said all that, designers and developers are getting more savvy at tackling these problems. The trouble is that it usually requires (what my last post warned of) a stock layout with little variation from other sites or additional coding to render more accurately across platforms and browsers. Those might not be deal breakers but something to consider. Extra cose is also a common explanation for increased setup fees. Usually the problem is that no one can foresee all of these issues. Even the best designers and developers that test for rendering problems are likely to miss some. The good news is that the testing can minimize risk of a bad user experience. The bad news is that some visitors will likely encounter a problem. I’m not sold that WCC compliance with separate CSS layouts is worth that. There are few things that compare to a good user experience and site conversion. For me, tableless design is not one of them and often looks like an unnecessary risk.