The year was 2007 when Steve Jobs announced the introduction of the first iPhone at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The introduction of the iPhone represented a revolution for the mobile industry, and since then it has experienced a rapid growth, with giants such as Google and Microsoft also playing a major role in this new era. Today, there are over 6.1 billion smartphones in circulation and a person spends an average of 2.8 hours per day tinkering with them. If this doesn’t prove how important the mobile industry is and how much it can affect not only people’s life, but also business development, I don’t know what does!
With such massive numbers, it’s no secret that mobile marketing should be one of the main targets for any kind of industry, especially those that heavily rely on user experience—which is why it’s shocking to see that over 40 percent of Fortune 500 and 91 percent of small business websites are not mobile friendly. In a world where 60 percent of internet access is mostly mobile, that’s a virtual shot in the foot.
Get on the Grid
Making a website responsive can be painful and time consuming. That’s why the use of CSS frameworks (or Grid Systems for the geeks) are heavily encouraged. A responsive CSS framework is simply a package that offers developers a stylesheet with a defined structured (the grid system) along with UI components, plugins, typography and themes that allow developers to build the basis of a website.
CSS Frameworks allow developers to cut way down on the time it takes to get a website in line, responsively speaking. The common basic structure that is used across every website is already defined and ready to roll, which means we can focus on the important aspects, such as the integration and design bells and whistles that will help your site stand out on the web.
Going with a responsive CSS framework is a no brainer, but which one you should choose is less clear cut. There are tons of choices, some very popular like Twitter Bootstrap, and others not so much – has anyone heard of Gridiculo.us? Choosing the right one for a project depends on how big the website is, how many features you’re looking at–some frameworks are more light weight than others - and of course, which one you feel most comfortable working with.
We <3 Bootstrap
Here at Ungerboeck Digital, we’re big fans of Twitter Bootstrap. Here’s why it has a special place in our heart:
- It’s built by some of the geekiest geeks on the planet
One of the most – if not THE most – popular responsive framework out there, Bootstrap is a free and open source framework. Initially built by the Twitter team to encourage consistency across internal tools, it is currently maintained by a large community of contributors, which translates into constant updates and improvements.
- Saves times, saves money.
Developers can accomplish much more in less time with bootstrap. Because it has a large list of classes and features that can accomplish a range of tasks, bootstrap allows you to simply find the right piece and use it in the structures you need. It also has lots of predefined styling and design aspects, which allows you to have a better looking website by just referencing it.
- Easy, easy, easy!
- Copious amounts of documentation
Because it’s maintained by a large community, it’s to be expected for Bootstrap to have tons of documentation. Although a little overwhelming at first because of the massive amount of information, it will become your best friend once you are stuck with a very particular and intriguing design. Also, there are tons of forums and pages dedicated to help developers with Bootstrap questions, especially on stack overflow, with over 4500 questions tagged just for Bootstrap.
- No more browser B.S.
We’ve all had that problem where a website looks great on Chrome but is total junk on IE. That’s because of the various ways different browsers interpret pages. With Bootstrap that’s no longer a problem. Built with the intention of being consistent, bootstraps results are uniform across platforms. That means that your beautiful home page will look good on Chrome, Firefox and even (astonishingly) IE.
- Responsive Right off the Bat
Bootstrap was built to be responsive, which means no extra work is required from you in order to make your website look good on both mobile and desktop. Bootstrap adapts to the change in devices with efficiency and speed, making use of a single and easy code base.
Of course, there are other responsive frameworks worth noting, such as Foundation, by Zurb– also very popular among the developer community—and some of the new kids on the block such as Skeleton - a light weight, dead simple responsive framework highly recommended for small projects.
However, at the end of the day, what matters is which one you feel more comfortable with. If your website looks great, it doesn’t matter if you used Bootstrap, Foundation or even Gridiculo.us, the internet will thank you for making it a better place.