This weeks topic in our class, or one of them, is building a framework to help us work more efficiently. I immediately thought of all those nights I have spent playing around with (X)HTML and CSS and just how much time I wasted typing the same thing I erased twenty or thirty minutes ago! This concept is not difficult to grasp and I think is good practice for any designer that is going to be passing their project to someone else in the future. I have noticed through my random ‘view source’ checks, that not many web designers put comments in their code. Comments not only help the designer that is building the site, but it also helps anyone else that can access you code, such as a student trying to learn more about web design. :) I am not alone with these thoughts.
My framework for web design research has taken me to some places that provide designers with framework templates for their projects. I think these can be a good thing, but I also have a concern. If aspiring designers such as myself and my classmates rely to heavily upon these prefabricated frameworks, it seems to me we are taking some of the creativity out of designing a site. Granted, the designer is probably taking more of the mundane and monotonous tasks away using these, but isn’t it always nice to see a page that has been designed from scratch and reveals a certain element of sexy that only a unique design can show? Maybe I’m a little naive, but my point is that I think if designers rely too much on other people’s framework, we are taking the element of surprise out of viewing a web page.
The other part of me is yelling out that better efficiency equates to more revenue and more work – not a bad combination. Using frameworks also helps us learn from each other. As I mentioned earlier, there is the possibility of having stale framework designs, but isn’t that something content could fix? Using frameworks also brings about better cross-browser capability, which is something designers in the past have spent countless hours trying to figure out.
If you’re riding the fence on this one, maybe this article will help you pick a side. It is a pro and con list on frameworks.
As I sit back and digest what I have read I am coming to the slow realization that I believe that frameworks are ultimately a good thing. This is definitely not an absolute answer, but for now, I will side with the proponents of frameworks. The web design community will benefit has a whole (i hope!) by using frameworks for repetitive tasks. There should be greater capability across browsers, a better understanding at the next level and a better you for possibly picking up something you didn’t know.