Several times a day, I check my Twitter stream to see what’s going on in the world of web design. There’s usually a handful of really great articles, some funny gifs (thanks Ethan), and a lot of links to new resources and tools. I see things like “check out this awesome CSS framework”, “new responsive design calculator”, or “mind-blowing CSS3 button maker.” I hate to say it, but these tools become crutches that we rely on.
So I ask, “Do we have too many tools available to us?”
I’m not meaning to bash those designers/developers that create them, the majority of tools I think are great, but I have a hell of a time trying to keep track of all them. When it comes time to work on a project, there are maybe a handful that I actually use. The market for these resources is saturated. How many CSS frameworks or testing tools do we really need?
It’s become too easy.
I don’t like the fact that someone can come across a CSS framework like Bootstrap, slap it on their website and say they designed something (I can’t tell you how many websites or web apps I’ve come across that are built on Bootstrap). We’re making it too easy to be a designer.
When I first started learning front-end development, figuring out how to lay things out was not as simple as applying a class on a
<div>. Hell, Firebug hadn’t even been developed yet! I’m not saying frameworks aren’t helpful, they absolutely are and will help you save a ton of development time. If people want to be good developers and designers, I think they need to learn why those frameworks are so great first and learn to appreciate the efficiency they provide.
One might argue that these are meant to be learning tools, which at first I’m sure they are, but when used as crutches they become quite the opposite in my opinion. I think they enable the lazy designer.
I think we need to refocus and get back to basics. Less of the “just use a framework” mentality, and more of the “how to build your own framework.” Don’t rely, learn.
I also think we need to stop making a separate tool for everything. Don’t replicate what someone else has done and add a single feature. Open source your projects, let the community contribute and improve it on Github. Build a better web.
What do you guys think? Do we have too many resources and tools available to us, agree or disagree? Are we becoming lazy?