Style sheets (CSS is the acronym for "Cascading Style Sheets") are the appropriate way to "design" a web without destroying the content. For years, we (I use this term loosely), as designers, have completely destroyed the content of a web by putting our designs within the web. We have used tables superfluosly, and have nested tables among nested tables, until the HTML of the web is such a nightmare of HTML tags a body couldn't muddle through it with a seeing eye dog, a psychic, AND the luck of the luckiest!
And we wonder why we have trouble getting listed in search engines.. Hmmmm.... Maybe, just MAYBE, it's because our content is so deeply embedded in a mass of HTML tags, simply to provide the "design - the visitor's 'appearance' of the web," and is so far down the ladder in the hiearchy of things the spider just doesn't put any weight on it. Again, hmmmm....
Most of the problems have occurred because designers have spent monumental hours trying to provide a perfect appearance of the web within ALL browsers. I'm not talking about Netscape, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Safari, etc. What *I* am talking about is OLD, ARCHAIC browsers - those which were developed prior to the introduction of the current W3C web standards - go back to Netscape 4 or below, Internet Explorer 3 or below, etc.
I thought for years, as a designer, that it was CRITICAL to create designed webs which looked the same in ALL browsers, regardless of the year in which they were introduced. HELLO.... Browser's are FREE.
If the viewer does not CHOOSE to upgrade (mind you, we're talking less than 1% of the internet population according to March 2005 browser statistics), then just give them the text and give everyone else the design. By doing this, you will be able to provide your content to ALL users - whether they use old browsers, new browsers, pda's, cell phones, or whatever. That's the goal, right? To get the CONTENT out there? Of course it is!