Responsive Design & Frameworks

I’m a creature of habit.  I’ll admit it.  And I’m willing to bet that anyone reading this is too.  It’s human nature to find comfort and solace in repeating patterns.  Which is why I can’t for the life of me figure out the appeal of the “Boostrap” framework from the folks at Twitter.

I’ve done a lot of reading lately on two major “trends” (if you will) in web design.  The first being a “flat ui” (which is another discussion entirely) and “responsive design”.  To boil down “responsive design” won’t really do it justice, but it basically entails creating a website that will maintain much of the same look/feel/design when viewed on a smartphone screen as well as a huge monitor.  A lot of this is created with some additional coding on the back-end, nothing too dramatic, but still somewhat complex in practice.

To ease the burden, there are several popular frameworks to get started.  The most popular right now is Bootstrap from Twitter.  Behind that is Foundation by Zurb.  I won’t bore you with the technical details of each one, but they’re both very similar.  How they accomplish the tasks is obviously unique, but I’ve found a preference for Foundation over Bootstrap.  The main reason being the “top bar” navigation.  Both frameworks feature this, but Zurb seems to be the only one that adds in the ability to actually move it so that it’s not the “top bar”.  Maybe it’s just that Bootstrap’s documentation is lacking to show me how to accomplish it.

Which gets back to my original point – I’m a creature of habit.  And I don’t feel right unless my design is structured header image, nav menu, content, etc.  Not nav menu, header image, content.

The “top bar” of these frameworks is designed to neatly collapse once the browser size falls below a pre-defined break-point.  I’ve spent more time with Foundation than Bootstrap, and I do know that there’s an alternate navigation menu with Foundation, but it doesn’t shrink gracefully – it basically turns into stacked boxes.  And I’m sure at this point that if Foundation has it, Bootstrap has something similar as well.

So that puts me in the process of creating yet another framework for WordPress.  There are a couple others out there already, but they use either the top bar at the top, or use the alternate nav.  I’m currently using the “starter theme” from the Themeshaper team available at for that.  Hopefully, if everything goes well, I’ll eventually have a “first draft” done by the end of the weekend and make it available on GitHub.