CSS Frameworks: Home Run or Strike Out?

I can’t decide if I love CSS Frameworks or hate them. Right now, I think it’s just a general “like” on the scale of love and a “screw this” on the scale of hate. The tutorials were useful to an extent. I had to read over a few of them a few times to completely understand what they were talking about- and even then the easiest way for me to figure out how to use them was by just plain experimenting.

I used the 960 CSS Framework as well as Jeffery Way’s tutorial (http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/news/a-detailed-look-at-the-960-css-framework/) to create these three different looks. It was tricky to figure out what was going on, but once I did the whole thing sped up quite substantially. It was easier for me to design and change aspects from font color and size to boxes and everything else. The background color was no problem, especially because the default background color for the framework worked very well for a story about baseball.

Then we got into the complicated things. The first time I opened up the CSS Framework file I was horribly confused. There were so many extra tags all around I just found myself getting overwhelmed. Everything was already set and I had to witness its destruction and decomposition before I could build it up how I liked it. That in itself made it very confusing to me, having so many tags. I can see that being either a plus or a negative to people. On one hand, you can enter in virtually any HTML tag and have it take some form. On the other hand I would just rather type the tag as I want them.

I ended up needing to have a pad of paper next to me to keep in mind which container and grid I was using. I didn’t like having so many different tags and labels flying around, and so when I was copying and pasting I tried to find as many ways as I could to get the amount of tags reduced. Then the math started to get a little bit confusing.

The formulaic nature of this method was also both a blessing and a curse for me. It’s a new way of thinking about design for me. How I would do it before is I would look at what I wanted and just play with aspects until I made it exactly how I pictured it. I didn’t think too much about numbers since if I got a number wrong I’d just change it. But with this, it was much more concrete in the numbers and for me, pretty terrifying. I felt I would get lost in the swimming pool of numbers and figuring things out. I can imagine that for people who are more mathematically minded, it’s great. Being able to think about padding, numbers, and everything is great. But for people like me who are more visual, it’s just confusing.

So for my bottom line, I don’t think I’m going to be using at least the 960 CSS Framework in the future as much as I’ll just be winging it with a mock-up. I feel like I have more power, and my pride enjoys being able to say that I did it without anything to help. The CSS Framework system hasn’t clicked quite yet, and I’m not sure if it will. But I’m willing to keep thinking about it and if it clicks in the future at some point I’ll go ahead and give them another shot.

Below are my three different layouts and they are linked to their online presence.

Screenshot of my third layout.

This is the third layout. Here is the link:

The first of three layouts

This is the first of the three CSS Framework 960 layouts I tried. Here is the link.

The second layout I tried.

The second of the three layouts I tried with the CSS Framework 960. Here is the link to it online.


One thought on “CSS Frameworks: Home Run or Strike Out?

  1. Pingback: CSS Frameworks (Paige Carlson) « Trinity Web Design Badges (Spring 2012)

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