The CSS “Ah-ha!” Moment

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

I think it’s different for everyone. That moment while you are beginner with CSS when something clicks. You just start to get it. That is your CSS “Ah-ha!” moment. You might not instantly become a CSS master, but from this point forward, there is no going back.

Because everyone enters the field of web design with different backgrounds and under different circumstances, I think the “Ah-ha!” moment is different for everyone. A true beginner with no web design experience at all might watch all the underlines on the links on their page disappear with a single CSS statement and be hooked. A seasoned veteran of web design coming from an environment where they were responsible for layout changes in complicated table-based systems might marvel at the ease of a CSS based structure and be hooked.

More likely though, it is something much smaller which causes the spark. It is one small little victory, your “Ah-ha!” that feels so good that you are hooked. (Sounds kind of like heroin when I say it like that, but you know what I mean).

If you have one, I am hoping that you will share! But for now, I can explain mine.

For me, it was a couple of concepts that felt like an unlocking of real power. It was a combination of these concepts that were my “Ah-ha!” moment.

  • Every page element is a box.
  • I can control the size and position of those boxes.
  • I can give those boxes background images.

Sounds simple, but those things still feel powerful for me today.

If any of you folks remember your “Ah-ha!” moment, feel free to share them by sending them in or commenting below. I’d love to do another post on this and share other people’s moments.