Our Yearly Reminder of What it’s All About

CSS Naked Day 2009

For the fourth year in a row, Dustin Diaz is bringing back CSS Naked Day. CSS Naked Day was brought about by Dustin as an effort to celebrate the goodness that is semantic markup and good document hierarchy.

The idea is this: for one day, each bit of CSS is removed from your website. For real. While the makeup has been removed, your website should remain proud. CSS Naked Day usually generates quite a bit of chatter, but there are plenty of designers who don’t know much about it.

The point of it all

Much of the (minimal) negative feedback about CSS Naked Day surrounds the concept that completely removing the style layer from a website will bring businesses to a screeching halt, turn clients into enemies, and generally wreak havoc on every website it touches. They’re missing the point.

We can safely assume that it wasn’t Dustin’s intention for shops to remove the style from client websites in celebration of CSS Naked Day. Instead, he’s trying to actively spread the word about the good things behind markup structure by enticing the Web design community to show that solid markup can indeed be a beautiful thing.

The idea behind CSS Naked Day is that you the designer remove the style layer from, say, your personal website. In doing so, you show the world that you truly know and understand what you’re doing under the hood and you make it look good. Your confidence in removing the CSS from your website is an act of community participation, not a hostile act against business.

Why I participate

I’ve participated in CSS Naked Day each year since its inception, and I hope Dustin continues the tradition for many years to come. I think it’s great to see that so many people appreciate the value of Web design, and I feel that CSS Naked Day helps bring us back to our roots for a few hours. All the while we’re spreading the words about semantic HTML to up-and-coming designers who are still wrapping their heads around the concepts and purpose of semantic markup.

I enjoy checking out the websites of participants and seeing what creative solutions others have implemented on one of the lowest levels we work. I check out nearly all the websites listed on the participant list and it’s great to see such an abundance of style-less documents for a short time. The worst part is not being able to view every site in the short window that is CSS Naked Day. The best part, though, is being able to easily make use of the website given that the style layer has been completely removed.

CSS Naked Day is a great way for a knowledgeable Web designer to get back to basics and be reminded of the fact that (X)HTML alone is an impressive markup language, allowing us to convey meaning on levels that many people will never see.

Will you participate this year?

CSS Naked Day has been around for years — what’s your track record? If you’ve participated before, do you plan on doing so again? If you haven’t, how come? If you’d like to find out the more technical details on participation, specifically how to implement a date check on your website to remove all of your CSS, there are a number of code snippets and plugins available on the official CSS Naked Day website.