March 04, 2014, 8:00 AM — It’s been said that Twitter Bootstrap, from a design perspective, is ruining the internet. The framework has become so popular that many sites launch with bootstrap’s default styling, customizing little or nothing at all. While I’d argue that bootstrap has improved the default styling of the web, you can still do better.
Twitter Bootstrap helps accelerate the development of web applications by providing a solid foundation for both responsive and non-responsive layouts while also supplying a jump start to design elements. All of the common HTML elements have appealing styles you can use out of the box, and there are a variety of icons, button types, menus, and more to leverage. With the inclusion of some of the bootstrap plugins, you even get things like image sliders, tooltips, modals, accordions, and other common UI elements.
Early on, a visitor coming to your bootstrapped site might not have known you were using a library like this, but as its popularity has grown, leaving Twitter Bootstrap easily recognizable can give the user a bad impression of your site. Deliver a consumer facing product using default bootstrap, especially for a client, and you’re going to look like a lazy bum. I’m a big fan of Twitter Bootstrap and use it regularly, so I’m not saying you shouldn't use it, I’m saying that you should take the time to make your implementation stand out. That’s where WrapBootstrap can help.
WrapBootstrap is a site that compiles themes and templates which use Twitter Bootstrap as the foundation and makes them available for purchase. There are Wordpress themes, e-commerce themes, administrative dashboards, even resumes.
Prices range from ~$4 to ~$40 but generally run in the sub $20 range making them a bargain for what’s basically a poor mans full site design.
If you’re looking to spend somewhere in the $0 range, have a look at their partner site, Bootswatch. Bootswatch offer modified bootstrap stylesheets that will quickly alter the default bootstrap appearance, for free.
While there is no replacement for a skilled UI/UX designers work, the cost and time savings afforded by Twitter Bootstrap are hard to ignore. By taking a few extra steps and spending a small amount of money you can go above the minimum that has become ubiquitous around the net these days and somewhat set yourself apart.