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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Adding Bling to a Banner Ad

To round off the chapter, let’s build an ad example using some of the cool properties you learned about earlier. You’ll make it look good, albeit different across older browsers, and make it sing with a minimum of images (and a video). Later in the book you’ll explore how to make the ad responsive and add some cool animated effects.

The ad will be for a fictional metal band called Dead Hamster. The band is making a comeback, and its management wants to move forward with an online advertising campaign that is going get the band noticed! And what better way to get people to notice than by using thrills, spills, moving pictures, and raw exciting content? OK, so they don’t have Bieber or Jedward, but they would only serve to draw the wrong kind of attention.

To make a big splash, the ad will work on mobile devices, so the poster needs to work at different sizes and on different devices. And the band also has a huge following in developing countries due to their freedom anthems. Therefore, the ad needs to work across less-capable browsers.

Let’s rock!

Basic Setup

The basic idea is to create a set ad size: the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has semistandardized sizes for web ads, as you’ll see at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_banner. Let’s start off this example by creating a 730 × 300 pixel “pop-under ad.”

But let’s take it even further and make an eye-catching ad to show that many of the tasks you used to do with Flash are now possible using only CSS3. In this chapter you’ll just build up the basic ad. (Animation will come in Chapter 5, and responsiveness in Chapter 8.) You’ll also learn how to provide a reasonable alternative in older browsers and what improvements you can and should make if you were to do something similar in a production environment.

The background of the entire advertisement is a short looping video clip that shows off the energy of the band. Over the top of this the most important information is displayed, and on hover/focus another pane of information is shown containing more info. The final product as it stands at this point is shown in Figure 4.42.

Figure 4.42

Figure 4.42 The rocking heavy metal ad.

The basic markup structure is as follows:

<section id="ad">
    <video></video>
    <div id="video-frame"></div>
    <div id="frame1"></div>
    <div id="frame2"></div>
</section>

One section contains the entire ad and includes a <video> element to render the rocking Dead Hamster footage, a <div> to apply an effect over the top of the video (more on this shortly), and then a couple more <div>s to contain the two panes of information.

Most of the content is absolutely positioned so the layers stack on top of one another, and most of the containers are set to 720 × 300 px, the same dimensions as the outer container, to keep everything inside the ad working well. Most of the code should be pretty simple to understand for anyone with previous CSS experience, so I’ll just explain the CSS3 code. You can find my code in the poster folder in the code download.

Adding the CSS3 Sparkle

Let’s walk through the different layers of this example in turn so it’ll make more sense. You first have the video, and the video-frame div is positioned on top of it. This “superfluous” div is annoying to have to include, but it is necessary at the moment because currently border-image doesn’t work correctly across all browsers. Recall that in all browsers except Chrome the middle slice is wrongly included, and you can’t get rid of it. If you could, then you could add the ripped edges using border-image, but at present you can’t. So instead you’ll add the ripped edges on this div using multiple background images:

#video-frame {
    width: 720px;
    height: 300px;
    background: url(left-edge.png) top left repeat-y, url(right-edge.png) top right repeat-y;
}

This is a rather useful technique in many ways: Imagine if you had lots of elements, such as headers or articles, and you wanted them to have a background image at either end and have a flexible width and height. This code is all you’d need.

Next, you’ll set a uniform black text shadow on all text, apart from the interesting flaming effect I’ve put on the word “hell”: This is suitable for increasing the latent cheese factor to be appropriate for the average heavy metal band. This can be done like so—add this now to your text:

#ad #hell {
    font-size: 150%;
    text-shadow: 0 0 4px white,
                 0 -5px 4px #FFFF33,
                 2px -10px 6px #FFDD33,
                 -2px -15px 11px #FF8800,
                 2px -25px 18px #FF2200;
}

Also, you’ll include a repeating radial gradient using various transparent blacks for a bit of background texture, plus a background color to provide a faint blue tint:

#ad #frame1 {
    background-image: repeating-radial-gradient(top left,
                      rgba(0,0,0,0) 9px,
                      rgba(0,0,0,0.05) 10px,
                      rgba(0,0,0,0.05) 15px,
                      rgba(0,0,0,0.1) 16px,
                      rgba(0,0,0,0.1) 20px);
    background-color: rgba(16,8,115,0.2);
}

And finally, you’ll use cool, very metal web fonts! These all result in a great set of components that blend well into one another.

Supporting Older Browsers

To support older browsers, instead of using clever Polyfilling of content, you’ll include a simple image fallback for non-<video> supporting browsers:

<img src="poster.jpg" alt="">

You’ll do this because Flash content tends to dominate the area of the page it is put on, so rollovers on top of the video content won’t work on a Flash fallback.

In the end, let’s opt for the coward’s option of not displaying the hover effect in the second frame because IE6, 7, and 8 tend to prove troublesome when you are trying to get hover effects to work on positioned content. You’ll use text-indent to push the text far off the screen, so it will still be available to screen readers.

In addition, you’ll include some quick box model and positioning fixes for IE6 and 7. The box shadows, text shadows, gradients, and RGBA colors all degrade well.

Adding AD Improvements

I think you’ve created a fairly effective basic ad in this example. The ad is all contained within a single container, so it is fairly easy to transplant in whichever page you want it in, and then position it where you want it.

But why not just create the ad in Flash? It would potentially be simpler to deal with, but the point is that you are trying to create components with open standards, which includes all the advantages they bring to the project, plus the text would not be accessible if you put it in a Flash video. The advantages open standards have over Flash in this context will be even more obvious when you start to add animated effects in Chapter 5.

Of course, before you really use this ad, you might want to make a few improvements:

  • Optimize video files. The video files as they stand are a fairly heavy addition to a page, so you should optimize them.
  • Pare down fonts. The fonts are also quite heavy. In a real production environment, you could use Fontforge (as mentioned in Chapter 3) to reduce the size of the font files and just include the glyphs you need.
  • Add a link. You should also wrap the final version in a link (HTML5 allows block-level linking) to click through to wherever you want the ad to lead to.
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