A framework is a standardised set of practices, criteria, and concepts designed to handle a specific issue. This can be used as a reference point to ensure all issues are handled in the same way and have the same outcome.
Web design frameworks serve a similar purpose. It is usually a package that consists of a structure of files and folders in a standardised code and is used to help support the development of websites. A web framework is often the very foundation of a site.
It’s a simple concept, but juggling with a web framework isn’t as easy as it may first appear. In this article, we’ll go into the subject of design frameworks, and how you may leverage them for your web designing needs.
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Why Do You Need Web Design Frameworks?
Most websites online have a rather similar structure, and in some cases, they may very well be identical. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it’s not a case of plagiarism or anything of the sorts, but it can get tiresome if the designers don’t customise them enough. The framework’s goal is to provide a common structure for developers so that they do not have to do it from scratch, allowing the process to unroll a lot easier and faster.
There are 2 different types of web design frameworks to consider:
- Backend – a set of files with libraries used to access databases, template structures
- Frontend – these are the sets of standardized codes
The framework is essentially a pre-built kit a developer uses to create the website or web application, and the concept can be applied to different stages of the process. For instance, you can have a backend framework used to connect the site database to the content, and a frontend framework meant to work on the user interface.
Understanding Frontend Frameworks
Frontend frameworks or CSS frameworks are the basis of how the web developer will make the site look and feel for the end-user. They are usually
- Made from a CSS source code used to create a grid, which allows the front end developer to arrange the different elements that make the design pattern easily;
- Contain solutions of browser incompatibilities to ensure the site works regardless of what browser the user has;
- Creates standard CSS classes that can be used to style more advanced components of the design
Within the wider CSS frameworks, there are 2 different types that can be distinguished based on their complexity:
They are also known as grid systems and offer style sheets with columns that help ease the arrangement of the different elements that make up the website design. It’s simply the base of your website.
Such frameworks offer a bit more than simple frameworks in terms of what you can already build on. For instance, two very popular web design frameworks on the market are Bootstrap and Foundation.
Foundation, on the other hand, focuses heavily on the aesthetics of the site and web application. Its templates are highly customisable and rely on both CSS and HTML UI components.
Both the frameworks are open-source are a good place to start for building a site.
How Do You Use Frameworks?
Even if web frameworks promise you can build a site without needing to code much, it doesn’t mean coding is completely removed from the process. The framework itself only helps you get off the ground and facilitates some of the tasks involved in creating the site, if you want to do it yourself, you are in for a bit of a learning curve.
For building websites, it’s best to either reach out to some frontend developers who can use the framework and create the site you want. The issue with not knowing how to leverage it to its fullest is that you risk taking the template almost as it currently stands, which may lead to you having a website that’s almost identical to a handful of others on the web as well.
Even if sites use the same framework, the work of web developers is to personalise it to the specific requirements of the clients, which takes time and skill. Additionally, parts of the framework may be not all that relevant to what you want your website to do or look like, and figuring that out by yourself can take some time.
A much more convenient way to build a site with little coding experience is to opt for a Content Management System such as WordPress and Joomla. These are software that helps create sites easily, similar to how frameworks do, but the even greater benefit of a CMS is that it allows you to easily manage the content of your site.
What Should You Do?
Building websites involves a lot more than setting up a page and publishing it online. With growing user and search engine expectations regarding how websites must look and feel, it can be difficult for business owners to know how to create or upgrade their site.
If you need support figuring these things out, our web design team can help. Australian Internet Advertising is happy to assist Sydney business owners with all their web design needs. We will ensure your site speaks volumes about your business and helps support your efforts, such as SEO.
Reach out to our office online, or call us for a chat at 1300 304 640 and let’s work together to create a good website!