As one of those people that never got around to properly learning design (or having no talent for it), the design seems to be the step always holding me back. It's not a problem for rich-clients, as the standard GUI toolkits provide some acceptable ways to design a good-looking interface, but the web is another story.

Question: Does anyone know of a high-quality framework for designing the interface of web applications? I'm thinking of standard snippets of html for an adequate set of controls (the standard html controls plus maybe navigations, lists, forms) and style sheets to give it an acceptable, modern look. If such a thing existed, it could even support themes in the way wordpress, drupal etc. allow it.

I know of the yahoo yui, but that's mostly javascript, though their grid css is a step in the right direction.

+3  A: 

I'm not sure that what you're looking for exists in the way you're looking for it. However, I've had some luck with places like Open Source Web Design and Open Designs, which have some really slick templates that can be adapted to a web application so they at least don't look like crap.

There are also some commercial offerings, such as Gooey Templates.

Once you're getting closer to launch, you can contact a pro to fix the details for you, or simply build on what you've got.

Edited to add: You might also want to consider learning Blueprint CSS. I've found it helps guide my layouts and helps them look "right", without constraining me to the layout constructed for another purpose.

Tim Sullivan
+1  A: 

You'd probably also find the myriad of Wordpress templates reasonably useful to build on, as Wordpress is at least reasonable at separating content from layout. The also tend to have a modern bloggy feel. Of course teaming up with a talented designer is the ideal way to go in my experience! :)

+4  A: 

Try the samples on ExtJs. I find them immensely useful in working out the UI. (trees, panels, modals, etc etc)

Glen Lipka
+2  A: 

I'll suggest Google Web Toolkit if you're a Java developer. Examples

I'll also second the suggestion for Ext JS. It's got a vast array of really slick looking UI elements, incredibly well documented code, and a strong community.

Chris MacDonald
+1  A: 

This will be more than a framework OP originally wanted but I'll suggest having a look at Morfik.

You'll be able to build pretty slick user interfaces with the conventional drag&drop way and with theming support (The homepage itself is built in Morfik). There're numerous other advantages Morfik provides, though let me not drift to off-topic for the subject. You may download the trial and see...

ps. Disclaimer: I'd worked for them.


Check out Their templates feature multi level tabs, clean css, it validates, and the CSS won't mess with your controls. I highly recommend them.