Tablets and mobile devices require us to rethink web design. Moused scrollbars will be replaced by paged gestures, and figures will float in multi-column layouts. Can this be expressed in CSS?
Paged designs, floating figures, and multi-column layout are widely used on mobile devices today. For some examples, see Flipboard, the Our Choice ebook, or Facebook Paper. These are all native apps. If we want the web to win on these devices (we do), it’s vital that designers can build these kinds of presentations using web standards. If web standards cannot express this, authors will be justified in making native apps.
Over the past years, I’ve been editing two specifications that, when combined, provide this kind of functionality: CSS Multi-column Layout and CSS Figures. I believe they are important to make sure the web remains a compelling environment for content providers.
These are relatively new standards and current browser implementation is still rolling. With any luck we’ll see wide adoption of the standards and a another way to build exciting websites.