Here’s an experiment that any web-design geek can do. Grab a style sheet from one website, tell your browser to use it, and then go view some websites. This will reveal three things:

  • Some sites are just plain broken, and don’t even render properly unless you use their style sheet.
  • Some sites abuse HTML in ways that become much more obvious with a different style sheet. Today I’ve been noticing how many sites use the <blockquote> tag for things that aren’t quotes (e.g. to separate entries in a blog).
  • Some sites work, and don’t seem to be abusing HTML too badly, but are the victims of absolutely terrible font/color choices.

There are some sites that do not fall into one of the above categories and don’t really need any improvement. Those are in the minority, though. I’m about half-way through my regular morning surf right now. I’ve already found at least a dozen sites that became much more readable using my own style sheet instead of theirs; except for those that are clearly broken, I’ve yet to find one that looks worse.