Do You Use Templates?
Super User

Every once and a while a client asks whether or not Shadowbox uses templates. In all truth, the question is difficult to answer owing to the nature of contemporary Web design techniques.

If by a template you mean one or two cookie-cutter designs in which we simply alter the color scheme, then by all means, we do not use templates. Having a bunch of nearly-identical sites in our portfolio does us no good in the way of advertising our services.

At Shadowbox, we use two widely popular open source software solutions to build our sites. They are so popular that taken together it is estimated that nearly 30% of all websites are powered by them. Why are they so widely popular? Because they are powerful and robust and come with many dynamic features that contemporary Internet users expect: Blogs, Content Management Systems, etc. And central to their core design is--templates!

So what is a template in this context? It is a collection of files created specially for a particular open source platform which are responsible for defining the look of the Website. In view of the popularity of the open source solutions I have mentioned, you might think there would be a huge commercial market for such templates. And you would be correct.

At Shadowbox, we specialize in customizing existing commercial templates in order to create a unique brand and look for our clients. And because they are categorized by industry sector, commercial templates come equipped with suitable design elements. This is important: A Web site for a restaurant should not look like a legal Web site, and an industrial Web site should not look like a site for a ballet company. I cannot tell you how often I come across small business sites that have no discernible industry identity.

Finally, many open source templates come with a responsive design "out of the box." This means that your Web site design will adapt itself to the many different screen sizes from smartphones to tablets to PCs. Coding this functionality into a design from scratch is extremely difficult and time-consuming. In short, open source templates ensure that you receive a well-coded top-notch industry-specific design in a matter of weeks, not months (or years), and which will be usable on any gadget for a fraction of the cost.

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