I've recently started materializing my biggest website project idea. Not sure if this relevant, but I'm using ASP.NET MVC 2 and Microsoft stack.
I appreciate design and aesthetics, and know they play a critical role in the success of this project. I think I have an eye for basic usability things, but from design and visual perspective, I'm really bad.
I'm a programmer, but I am still learning and there is a whole bunch of design patterns, best practices, architecture design to consider in the implementation and trying to learn CSS and design would probably be over my head currently.
This is why I would like to prioritize functionality over design for as long as possible. I would probably be willing to make an investment into a good outsourced design at some point.
I've used a "starter kit" website solution that contains Blue Print CSS framework as part of it. So all the default Views generated are based on Blue Print CSS. But after reading your knowing opinions about CSS frameworks, I'm contemplating whether this is a good idea after all.
To make the work for the possible future designer as easy as possible, how should I write the View/Template code (ie. HTML)? Should I be using div-tags at all? Should I be assigning class names to any content? Should I be trying to declare some meaningful class names or ids to elements based on what they contain or should I leave that to the designer? Can I do this kind of "design" without really understanding CSS? Is plain HTML without any styling and "classing" the way to go?
Edit: To clarify, I would like to leave CSS to a professional. I don't mind the site being absolutely "plain" until a designer does his magic.
Sorry if this seems vague. Any help is really appreciated. Thank you.
Short answer, try to tag every independent component.
Long answer, Congrats on learning ASP.NET MVC, it's probably the best choice to make modern websites on ASP. I believe using a CSS framework is not something bad at all. Keep Blueprint, and use it for as long as you do not have a designer. Remember that the views are independent from the models, so a good designer with experience on HTML should be able to easily work on the Templates and Views, as they are embedded ASP, just try to comment them and make them clear to understand.