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I am going to chime in being negative against the wave of positive feedback here.

Twitter has done well releasing this and when I first saw it ages ago it looked neat and fairly professional.

However, like a pop song which has been completely overplayed on the radio it has become tired and frankly a bit annoying. It has its uses offline to quickly get a demo up and running but it shouldn't be used on a live site. At least not in its entirety.

If you have to use this for your project due to convenience or lack of design skills then do everyone a favor and mix it up a little bit. Change the colors on the buttons. Avoid the black bar running along the top of your website. Just don't look 100% like a vanilla bootstrap site.

"Just don't look 100% like a vanilla bootstrap site."

Unless you're targeting developers or Silicon Valley who cares? Most people couldn't tell you the difference between a Bootstrap site or a non-bootstrap site, even if they could its unlikely they would actually care. As a dev who admittedly sucks at CSS I'll take better looking and clone-like (and cross-browser) over ugly and unique any day.

I agree with you 100% here Jamie. Any non-developer I have shown the bootstap styling to just says it looks very professional, even if it is the 'vanilla bootstrap site'. Admittedly, I do agree that it some customizing should be done since it is very simple, but I wouldn't say changing the button colors is world-changing.

Also, check out oss/bootstrap/docs/download.html#variables a new feature in the docs that makes customizing really easy even for someone who doesn't know CSS!

It just looks like you chimed in to show the negative side, but didn't even check out the new code.

Thank you to anyone who worked on the project, 2.0 is awesome. Responsive design is nailed down, adding and removing components is even easier than before and the docs are awesome. Good stuff here.

I'm trying bootstrap in my latest project, but have to say was surprised the first time I viewed it with IE. Even with IE9 the navbar and buttons look poor. Any advise?

Bootstrap looks better then 95% of sites in internets. Actually I hope that more and more sites will use bootstrap. I've tired of different look and feel. There are zillions of autocompletes and everyone behaves differently (different animations, keyboard shortcuts and so on). Even buttons works differently on different sites.

If you look at iPhone or Mac or Windows application they looks the same as other application on particular platform and no one annoyed. Each application use same keyboard shortcuts and controls and frequently share same colors. There is even UI recommendations for most of the platforms. You could use owner-drawn controls for sure but it usually they are used only if default controls are unsuitable for some task or in games.

Bootstrap is not overused; just under customized.

In all fairness, what this proves is that there is a fairly large market for such packaged customization themes which are built thoughtfully and work on all resolutions.

I have filed a bug that was closed about this very thing. Bootstrap is very hard to customize because the variable color names are inane. Rather than define a palette of X many colors and then use that everywhere, bootstrap defines variables as @gray, @pink, @white, etc. If you want a light-on-dark layout, you need to redefine @gray as white, which makes no sense.

I proposed names like @primaryColor, @primaryColorLight, @secondaryColor, etc, but the tickets were closed. Yes, it's a lot of work, but it must be done. If you can define your four colors and have Bootstrap look entirely different, it goes a long way to instant customization.

That's a shame - this is my main complaint about bootstrap. If you do plunge ahead and do a bunch of color customization, it also makes upgrading to new versions a pain.

I didn't even notice the LESS variables and built a dark theme in about 20 minutes by cascading over Bootstrap vanilla. Upgrading isn't an issue as long as you make customizations in a separate file that you simply include after bootstrap.css.


Actually, to give credit where it's due, I just downloaded the 2.0 release and it seems like things are much better. Still not at the point I'm describing, but at least the end classes aren't littered with @gray declarations.

Speaking of this, I built a tool using jQuery and Twitter Bootstrap itself that lets you customize the button's hue, saturation, lightness, and "puffiness". You can see it here: http://charliepark.org/bootstrap_buttons/.

Any discussion on it will hopefully be at the HN thread I just submitted (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3538053).

This has already been proved by themeforest.net years ago with their admin templates

True. Clearly their time is divided into doing so many of those themes.

Instead, if they did a (or a few) authoritative themes with compass css with such good documentation as bootstrap and their theme works at all resolutions, I'm sure people will use that one too.

Themeforest is a marketplace. They make money no matter which one you buy.

You're advising people who lack design skills to change the colors? How about just advising them to focus on the content and functionality of the site they're building. If they do that, you won't have to tell them to remove the black bar. They'll remove it if it doesn't help the site.

I've found the best use for Bootstrap is internal sites and tools. The public never sees these tools so they are usually stuck with terrible UI and UX. Bootstrap makes these tools so much easier to write.

Same here.

Everyone survived eons of staring at old Windows application UIs, and this is prettier to look at! Believe it or not, a lot of business users expected their apps to have that boring look or else they might not consider it a full-fledged Windows program. The old Winamp design around the turn of the millenium looked alien in Windows--it looked awesome, but no business users would've considered it to be professional. When you go into a company to knock out some internal apps for them, creating something that gets work done is going to come first, and Bootstrap makes it possible for your app to look decent even when you don't have a designer around.

Once upon a time, smart, thoughtful people thought it was a good thing for different applications to make use of a common set of well thought out UI elements because it allowed users to leverage knowledge across many applications.

Some would say that it isn't a bad thing to have more of that on the web.

Lazy question: is it easy to remove that black bar? I think it's a terrible bit of navigation for "average user" kinds of people, who will easily miss it.

It's used on Twitter, Google and Facebook (er, Blue Bar). I think the "average user" can get it.

There are plenty of 'average Joe' kind of people who don't use stuff like Twitter or Facebook much.

Some of our customers seem to have some difficulties finding information on pricing here, for instance: http://www.liberwriter.com/

If that navigation link were at the top in a small black band, it might as well be on Mars.

Are you sure people wouldn't have an easier time finding the nav links on your site if they were in a bar? They look a lot like body text to me now, which might be the issue. Have you done any testing?

I think a bar might work and that testing would be the best way to see.

The point about pricing in particular is that there is a huge button in the middle of the page, and people are still not clicking it. My instincts are that a black bar at the top of the screen would be nearly invisible to these people, many of whom are more advanced in their years than the average HN user.

Currently you have no real user feedback on any of your buttons other than cursor change. When a user hovers over a button I would suggest defining a hover state for the button.

As for the "view plans and prices, get started" I believe a smaller button that is better positioned with a hover effect would get significantly better results. Even a simple change such as changing that text to something a little shorter like "Get Started Now", "View Plans" or " View Prices" will get you better results.

Ultimately I believe you would see significant improvements using bootstrap across your site. Some examples of what others have done with bootstrap can be found here http://builtwithbootstrap.com

Just don't add it in the first place.

Ah, cool, I thought it was some kind of default they gave you.

This would be an easy A/B test. If you do it, I'd love to hear what you found.

I agree with this completely - it's too branded and shackles you in development. I am working right now on a solution that gives you the ability to quickly prototype with nice looking styles, but is much more flexible and modular and gets out of your way when you need it. It's going to be a pretty huge project (and will borrow some pieces from bootstrap), but will post when it's done

I need this by the end of the week. :)

It's a framework - use it as such

You should A/B whether users give a damn.

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