5 CSS Frameworks For Your Next Project

What CSS Frameworks do you use? A framework like Bootstrap can be customize to suit your needs. Sometimes you have override the standard styles to get the design to work. You may want to use a framework that is flexible and doesn’t make design decisions for you. Here are 5 frameworks that you can use in your next project.

5 CSS Frameworks For Your Next Project
Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

Pure CSS

Pure.css is small, responsive CSS framework. It allows you to easily create your own styles while providing responsive layout and common UI components. Pure.css is flexible that you can use it with other frameworks like Bootstrap without any issues. Monty Shokeen explains how you can start using [this framework] (https://www.sitepoint.com/introducing-pure-css-lightweight-responsive-framework/) in your next project.

Mini CSS

Mini.css is a minimal and responsive framework. You can quickly change the CSS file to make a custom design. It relies on CSS for the styling, so it won’t conflict with any JavaScript library that you need to use.

Bulma

Bulma is a CSS framework that is based on Flexbox. It is responsive, modular and free. Bulma is easy to learn and customize. You don’t need JavaScript to get started using this framework.

Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS is a different from other CSS frameworks. It provides utility classes that make it easy to rapidly build custom user interfaces. Tailwind doesn’t make design decisions for you. You can create a completely custom design without having to overriding a bunch of pre-built classes.

Materialize CSS

Materialize is a modern, responsive framework based on Material Design. You can choose to use the standard version with CSS and JavaScript or the SCSS version. With the Standard version, you can get started right away. The SCSS requires a Sass compiler.

When choosing a framework for your next project, you may want a small and minimal one or something that works with your existing styles. These 5 provide you with different options to help create a custom user experience.

5 Ways to Organize Your CSS

How do you write and organize your CSS? Do you prefer to use a structured method or not? With CSS, you can choose to use an existing method or develop your own. Some CMSes like WordPress have their own styles. When you use them, you need to follow their rules and guidelines.

5 Ways to Organize Your CSS
Photo by Photo Mix from Pixabay

Your styles can get big, messy and convoluted over time. It can be hard to maintain. You don’t know what you can delete or change because you aren’t sure what problems it will cause. Without a method for organizing, it may get harder and harder to keep things straight. You can choose to use BEM, OOCSS, SMACSS, Atomic CSS or build your own.

BEM

BEM is a way of writing CSS created by Yandex. It is a very structured style of writing CSS. BEM has a component-based approach. This approach divides the user interface into separate components. BEM uses the structure of Block, Element and Modifier. It makes development easy and fast to update.

OOCSS

OOCSS (object-oriented CSS) applies principles of object-oriented languages to help you write CSS. It encourages code reuse and makes it easier to maintain. OOCSS uses the object-oriented principle of abstraction to make the code reusable. It helps you to separate visual elements like color, fonts and borders from the content. This separation makes your code easier to update. Especially when you need to change colors, fonts or other branding-related items.

SMACSS

SMACSS is more of a style guide than a CSS architecture. Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS provides guidelines for writing CSS. This style guide helps you build CSS that is flexible and maintainable. With SMACSS, you create your own rules for writing CSS.

Atomic CSS

Atomic CSS focuses on small, single-purposed classes. You build well-structured HTML templates, so that your changes doesn’t break your design.

Your Own Style

When you build a website on your own or part of a small team, you can choose how you write your CSS. You may combine methods to help solve certain design problems.

How do you choose a method?

It depends. When you are working on your own project, you can choose which one you want to use. When you are working on a project that uses a CSS framework, it may be easier to use the method that the framework uses.

The best way to learn which one you like is to read the documentation and build a project with it. Then, you’ll know when to use these methods.

Add Simple CSS Animation to Your UI

When you create a web page, you use tools like fonts, colors, photos, illustrations and shapes to draw attention to important parts and guide the user on how to use your page. Another tool that you can add to help convey information is animation. Animation allows you to add movement or motion on your page. People are hardwired to respond and react to movement. By adding animation, we can use it as another technique for communicating with our users.

Add Simple CSS Animation to Your UI
Photo by: Image by Ambady Sasi from Pixabay

Why use animation?

Animation helps you to draw people’s attention the part of the page that has changed, show users where to look next or highlight the arrival or removal of important information. You can use it for telling a story, branding and improving your user’s experience.

What do you need to remember when adding animation?

  • Don’t animate everything. Use it sparingly. Animation should help guide people on using your page not distract or confuse them.
  • Make sure it fits with your style or brand. If you are playful and not serious, you can use animation that has a playful aspect. If you are more serious, you want your animation to be simple and functional.
  • Don’t assume that your animation will work on all devices. You need to test, test and test again.

What kind of animations can I use?

You can add animations to a dashboard, web app or mobile only features. One popular method is to change the hamburger menu to an X. This change lets the user know that the menu can be closed. You can add animations to images on hover or in a gallery.

Hamburger Menu changes to an X

See the Pen
Animated – Hamburger Icon (spans)
by Steven Roberts (@matchboxhero)
on CodePen.

CSS Animation on Hover

See the Pen
Playing a CSS animation on hover
by Val Head (@valhead)
on CodePen.

Accordian Image Gallery

See the Pen
Accordion Image Gallery
by Stefan C. (@stefcharle)
on CodePen.

How can I learn more about animation?

CSS Animation Rocks
A CSS Animations Tutorial
CSS Tricks – Animation
Create Cool UI Animations in CSS

Variable Fonts on the Web

Variable fonts is an OpenType font specification that puts different variations of a typeface into one single file instead of multiple font files for every variation that you may need. With a standard font, your visitors have to download multiple files which leads to more HTTP requests and data to their browsers. With a variable font, the file size may be about the same but you’ll have access to a much wider range of styles than currently available. For example, a font like Roboto has twelve font files which includes twelve variants. The variable font has one file and unlimited variants.

Variable Fonts on the Web
Photo By: Maret Hosemann

Can I Use It?

Not all browsers and operating systems support variable fonts. For example, Linux OSes need to download the latest Linux Freetype version and Macs need to use a Mac High Sierra (10.14) and Mojave.

For non-supporting browsers, you can use CSS Feature Queries to determine if it should load a standard font instead.

Why use Variable Fonts?

You can use a single font file that provides you with a wide range of widths, weights, slants and more. With less font files to download, your visitors don’t have as much to download. With a variable font, you have greater flexibility on how your text displays. You can use a wider variety of font variants to create certain affects that help define your style and voice. With most major browsers supporting this font type, you can start to use them in your next project.

Where can I see Variable Fonts in action?

You can try them out on v-fonts and Axis-Praxis.

Where can I learn more?

Prototype a website with CSS Grid

When I build a prototype, I start with pen and paper. A paper prototype (blog Post) helps me to develop my ideas better. What if your drawings don’t get the ideas across to your team or client? What do you do then?

Prototype a website with CSS Grid
Photo by Stefan Schweihofer

You could use a prototyping app or start building in the browser. Sometimes, it is simpler to start building in the browser. With HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you can build it quickly.

Building Your Prototype in a Browser

When you create your prototype in the browser, use the basic tools for building the web–HTML and CSS. HTML and CSS let your build and make changes to your prototype quickly. You and your designers can focus on designing and testing finicky UI components like tables and drop downs.

What if HTML and CSS isn’t enough to get you started quickly? You want to build a prototype not focus on the layout. A framework like Bootstrap or CSS Grid can help you get started quickly.

Why CSS Grid?

You can build your prototype using other frameworks like Bootstrap. CSS Grid gives you more flexibility, simpler markup and no 12 column limitation. When you use a framework like Bootstrap, it can look as though it was built using that framework. If you need more flexibility in your branding and design, then Bootstrap won’t work for you. CSS Grid gives you more creative control.

How Do You Start?

With CSS Grid, you have three choices:

  • Start with a page layout example. With these experiments, you can learn how CSS Grid works without having to build all of the markup yourself. One of the examples uses the Skeleton Framework. I used this example to build a public domain book website with it.
  • CSS Grid Layout Builder, an app, you download to help you build your CSS Grid layout quickly.
  • Build a CSS Grid website by creating the markup yourself. Grid By Example is a good resource for learning how to build what you need with CSS Grid.

CSS Grid is another tool that you can use to build prototypes quickly. Layout templates, grid builders and online examples all can help you to create your prototype quickly so you can focus on the user experience and not the tools to build it. When building a prototype, the best tools are the ones that you use.