September 15, 2015 | Sarah Danks

Last summer Google came out with their “Web Starter Kit,” a boilerplate that essentially enables web designers to get a jumpstart on designing responsive websites. Obviously, if Google offers up a “template” of sorts for responsive web design (RWD) code, it’s probably a big deal. Responsive, I mean.

Wait, I seem to remember working with a couple people Back When (in the ad agency days) who told me “responsive is a fad.” Not the truth, fellas. Sorry.

Responsive web design is here to stay. I see more and more people using mobile devices, not less. Now, parallax design is a fad; responsive is most assuredly not.

But I digress.


The point is, Google thought RWD was important enough to throw designers/developers a bone and give them a starting point for designing a responsive site. In fact, just this past spring we went through the mobilegeddon hooplah wherein Google once again gently nudged everyone in the responsive direction.

Well, then Twitter also wanted a piece of the pie, as evidenced by its Bootstrap HTML, CSS & JS framework project (side note: notice their use of the controversial ghost button).

Funny, because OUR designer does — and has for several years — kind of the same thing (begins each RWD with a starting point) except his approach is a bit different than what Google and Twitter are offering.

Our designer created his own starter boilerplate that has all of the essentials a solid responsive website needs, as well as common scripts/tools used throughout many of our web projects. The difference is that this boilerplate is far more stripped down, while still retaining the bare essentials to get the project started. There are two basic reasons for this:

First, we want to make sure each website we do is custom for the specific client with regard to functionality and design. When working with a boilerplate that is essentially already styled and built out for you, websites can become similar-looking and hamper originality. By keeping a foundation stripped-down we are less likely to end up with websites that become cookie-cutter. This means you’re forced to put a little extra thought and time into what functionality and design a particular client’s website needs, rather than simply using what’s “in the box” already.

Secondly, often with design code (whether it’s a custom design you purchased or a WordPress blog theme) a lot of the coding that comes standard in the “templates” offered is superfluous (not only that, it’s more than what you need). Many developers choose to leave the unused portions in the background, but that bloats the code.
bloated woodtick

Ain’t nobody like bloated code.

And, since our designer/developer is VERY particular about his code, he obviously doesn’t like code bloat. Plus, the more code there is to load on a site, the longer the website takes to load overall. Which is no bueno.

This isn’t to say you need a rockstar developer (like ours) to create his/her own framework for responsive web design; it’s just the way ours goes through the process. In fact, since I’m such a cheerleader for responsive sites, I’m going to throw it out there that you should just DO it, regardless of how you go about it!

How does your web company go about designing responsive websites? Let us know in the comments!





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