The Best CSS Frameworks for Web Design

BY IN Uncategorized, 24.07.2018

A lot is expected of the modern website developer. Clients expect the finished product to support all modern browsers, both desktop and mobile. They also expect speed, responsiveness, and of course, a bug-free release.

Delivering on all these requirements isn’t going to be easy. Web developers today find themselves doing a considerable amount of refining, testing, and fine-tuning in pursuit of a website that is as close to perfect as possible.

Fortunately, web designers can save themselves a lot of the stress and trouble that comes from striving for perfection. With the right framework in place, designers and developers can streamline much of the process.

Why You Need a Front End Framework

There are a number of components to a successful website. You will of course need to find a good web host, one who is able to provide you with a reliable service (99% uptime minimum). But even if you buy the best hosting package in the world, it won’t be much use if the underlying website isn’t properly designed. A CSS framework can make a significant difference to how professional your website looks.

There are a number of significant benefits to having the right front end framework in place.

  • Save a considerable amount of time, both now and with future projects.
  • Focus on fine-tuning your design and achieving your conceptual goals.

There are a plethora of different frameworks out there, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In this guide, we take a look at the most popular frameworks for web designers.


What is it?

Twitter Bootstrap has become the most popular choice for a mobile-first framework. In fact, Bootstrap is now thought to be utilised on as many as 4% of all the websites out there. It also accounts for 25% of the top million websites, ranked by visitor numbers.

Why Do I Need It?

Perhaps the biggest selling point of Bootstrap is its community. That community has formed around Bootstrap because it has been so widely adopted and offers such great versatility. This community ensures that there is no shortage of useful resources for new and experienced developers alike.


What is it?

Like Bootstrap, Foundation is a mobile-first CSS framework. However, there are some crucial differences to be aware of:

  • Foundation is considered to be much less opinionated than Bootstrap. It provides a foundation upon which a responsive mobile-first website can be developed.
  • Foundation is built in REMs, whereas Bootstrap uses pixels. This means that Foundation allows users to use percentages as opposed to exact measurements.
  • The Foundation community is not as active as that of Bootstrap. However, there are still lots of excellent resources out there.

Why Do I Need it?

Foundation brings many of the same advantages to the table as Bootstrap and is a strong contender for the latter’s title of the best mobile-first CSS framework out there.


What is it?

An open source CSS framework built on SASS, Bulma offers users complete flex box integration, and has emerged as one of the most popular frameworks out there.

Why Do I Need it?

Bulma doesn’t have the large, active, and thriving communities that Foundation and Bootstrap have. However, it is a rapidly emerging player in the market, one which will no doubt soon have such a community of its own. In the meantime, there are plenty of reasons to check Bulma out:

  • Ease of use. Bulma is one of the most intuitive and simple to pick up frameworks out there. Whereas other frameworks often bundle a large number of components and assets, Bulma offers a smaller but much more focused selection.
  • Bulma offers unprecedented cross-browser compatibility, something that is hugely important to contemporary web designers.
  • Small File Size. The entire Bulma framework is contained in a package less than 90kb in size. The ability to modularise allows users to reduce the file size even further.


What is it?

UiKit is another modular framework. It is designed to produce robust, modern, and fast website and web applications. Uikit occupies a similar amount of space to its biggest competitors, Bootstrap and Foundation, but it manages to offer the most impressive array of UI components and other interactive elements we have ever seen.

Why Do I Need it?

UiKit has a lot going for it. It hasn’t reached the giddy heights of some of its competitors, but it is certainly on the right trajectory, and it has the features to make it all the way:

  • Range of Components. UIKit offers an expansive library with all the interactive web elements a designer could ever want. Like Boostrap and Foundation, it is on the larger side in terms of the space it occupies. But it manages to cram a hell of a lot more into that space.
  • Like Bulma, UiKit offers the option to modularise, therefore further reducing file space. Modularisation means that the user can choose which elements they want to include on their website, and only upload these.
  • UiKit comes with an extensive library of animations, allowing you to add some real visual flair to your website.

Semantic UI

What is it?

Semantic UI is another front-end framework, but this one has been designed with a very unique purpose in mind. The purpose of Semantic UI is to provide developers and designers with a shared vocabulary. A shared vocabulary means that when the designer explains what they want to the developer, both parties will conjure the same image in their mind.

Why Do I Need it?

Semantic UI is much more than it appears at a first glance. Some developers have previously written it off as being little more than a CSS library with some extra functionality. However, it offers users a variety of tools and capabilities, including debugging and the ability to define your own elements and modules. Here are some of the key selling points.

  • Semantic UI’s components are heavily modularised. Every UI element has been created around a JS and CSS file all of its own. The result of this is that it is very easy for designers and developers to choose only the elements that they want on their website and discard the rest.
  • Semantic UI enables users to customise as many as 3000 individual variables, giving them an impressive degree of control over the look and feel of the end result.
  • Bundled Assets. Like the other frameworks on this list, Semantic UI comes bundled with a range of components and assets, all of which are professionally designed and look great.

There are a great many CSS frameworks available to modern web designers, so choosing the right one isn’t always easy. Keep the above advice in mind.