Friday, October 2, 2015

The $18 Web Design

My first employer in Minneapolis charged 10s of thousands of dollars for a brochureware website that only promoted a small business in the early 2000s. It became harder and harder to acquire new business, and the price point eventually dropped significantly, but still, it was a pretty good business to be in.

Then in August 2011 Twitter open sourced bootstrap, which turned the entire web to look the same. It was a huge leap in the right direction, but every other website or internal app looked very much alike.

More and more UI engineers cranked out "customized" bootstrap apps. Engineers familiar with bootstrap were able to modify and tweak the design. I even built my own resume on one of those bootstrap designs.

A couple of weeks ago a good friend of mine pinged me about help with his app prototype. He even picked out the template for himself. He sent it over to me as a zip file, I extracted it and my jaw dropped. The 566 MB of content I found in it was amazing.

It had:

  • 4 layouts
  • 5 dashboard mockups with sample graphs
  • 7 different graphs
  • an email template with all messages, view and write email templates
  • metrics dashboard with 6 different data representations
  • all sorts of UI widgets like zoomable maps
  • form widgets with wizards, file uploads
  • 19 user profile views
  • 2 login, forgot password and different error pages
  • a code editor, a timeline view, tree and chat view
  • different UI elements like panels, buttons, tabs and badges
  • 4 data table templates
  • full e-commerce design for products, orders, order detail and payment forms
  • 3 galleries
  • 2 menu options
  • a public site design, this way your company can have a marketing site aligned with the app
  • 5 full and starter templates (angular.js, ASP.NET MVC, meteor.js, static HTML 5 template, Rails 4 templates)
  • 3 CSS pre-processors (SASS, SCSS, LESS)
  • all the templates in PSD in case you want to further tweak it yourself

With a template like that you can pretty much do everything you want. An e-commerce app? Sure! A data analytics application? Absolutely. I've tried using my UI chops before, but none of my attempts were remotely close to what a template like this can offer.

And the best part? This template does not cost $1000. Not even $500. You can have it all for 18 dollars. Yes, for the cost of your lunch you can put your ideas in motion.