Front-end developers sometimes struggle to make sure the sites they design load quickly, meet all the requirements of the client, and deliver without hiccups. One way you can save time as you develop various features for a design is by using CSS frameworks.
CSS frameworks have typically already been tested for browser compatibility and speed, giving you more time to focus on the creative aspects of your design or in-depth testing. Finding the best frameworks isn’t always easy, however.
It’s hard to answer the question about which CSS framework is best in 2023, but W3Techs did look at the usage statistics of different CSS frameworks for websites. In their survey, the majority of websites didn’t use any of the frameworks they monitor. The highest usage was Bootstrap at 19.6%, followed by Animate at 9.6% and Foundation at 0.5%.
Let’s look at the top CSS frameworks in 2023 and what each brings to the table. Choosing the right one for your needs may just be a matter of testing different ones until you find the one that works best and makes the most sense for the coding languages you use.
Bootstrap is one of the most frequently used CSS frameworks in 2023. The open-source software was originally created by a developer at Twitter. Bootstrap enables responsiveness for mobile-first designs.
Not every popular CSS framework will give you every feature you need. You might wonder why you should turn to Tailwind CSS as an option. However, a major drawback to using a popular source is that all websites start to look similar after a while.
You can’t design a site that doesn’t look like Bootstrap if you’re using that CSS framework – unless you customize a lot of the CSS. However, with Tailwind, you can create a custom look without writing a lot of CSS code. You won’t have to follow a default style or theme.
One of the biggest benefits of Tailwind includes saving time by using the pre-existing classes instead of writing custom code. Your CSS code stays small, allowing your site to load quickly.
An alternative to Bootstrap, Bulma is known for simple syntax. It may be quite helpful to someone just learning to code. Although it comes with out-of-the-box components, you can customize any of them for more flexibility. The focus of Bulma is on light and dark themes, so you can add advanced features and customize templates as you go.
If you want to focus on user interface, you’ll probably appreciate this CSS framework developed by Google. This framework works well for creating an admin dashboard. You’ll also get animations as one of the features to help improve the UX of your site and give site visitors visual feedback.
Interface elements are compatible with popular browsers and are mobile-responsive. One of the biggest advantages of this framework is the detailed documentation to help you understand the system.
W3Techs listed Animate as the fastest-growing CSS framework right now. If you want to add animations and emphasis to your home pages or other features on your site, you’ll want to turn to Animate for such detailing without starting from scratch.
Today, people have much faster internet speeds than ever before. The use of 5G and faster processing speeds for computers means sites with animations load at lightning speed. Experts predict people will reach 10-gigabit speeds in the near future, while most are already at 1 gigabyte or faster.
If you’re seeking a minimalistic design, Milligram offers a simple, sleek, and modern-looking framework without a lot of bells and whistles. Milligram offers a simple language to learn because it’s very clean and uncluttered. It’s lightweight, so your designs will load fast. You won’t gain a lot of templates, so it’s more customizable but also requires more time.
Looking for something a little more sophisticated? Foundation offers some advanced customizations to create a strong design with a responsive menu and more flexibility in how you utilize grids.
Because the framework is complex to figure out, you may find it takes more time than you’d prefer. However, the end result is a unique look that you’ll love.
You may find that one CSS framework works best for one project and a different one is ideal for another. Try the popular ones and see what you prefer. Keep in mind that the developers of each framework may add features and change interfaces over time, so check back in frequently for updates.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.