1886 0 February 5, 2015

What’s wrong with Twitter Bootstrap?

Just recently I have finished a website for my client. I did it very fast (brief was really precise), I have sent it to the client. Design is very clean and modern, client likes it. I got paid. I should be happy.

But I feel guilty…

You see, design is really crisp, and very nice, but to be honest it looks exactly like the gazilion other websites out there.

Some time ago I have tried to present my clients with unique designs. I even had this awesome idea, that each client should get AT LEAST 3 different design ideas, that will be unique, created from scratch for him and for him only. And I starved. I have spent days and hours on each project, watching my fellow web designers using twitter bootstrap and creating websites in minutes. Then my projects were rejected and turned down, while theirs prized (although they looked like templates, maybe even they were templates).

Partially I blame Twitter Bootstrap (and partially flat design and minimalism). It is a very useful framework, and allows rapid front-end development, but… it makes all the sites built with it look the same. Sure, you can customize it, and alter the CSS, to make it unique, but then the development is not so rapid, and most web developers don’t do it. They just change some colors, insert their own pictures, that’s all. And that’s not enough. Web is flooded with websites built with Bootstrap, or looking like they were built with Bootstrap. Clients see the trend and demand it, circle closes.

Bootstrap has also other downsides – and one of the biggest is that it is very heavy, and all websites built with it usually load much more code than necessary. It’s the same as with the design – sure you can customize it, and you can remove unused parts of the code, but, exactly like with the design, almost no one does this. This is a symptom of all framework- or template- built websites.

My conclusion? I will design websites like this, I have to if I want to earn my keep (but I won’t use the code, I prefer to write code from scratch, especially CSS) – if clients demand it. But I definitely prefer to design unique websites.

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