Everything a designer should know about Bootstrap



The world of Product Development is vast, very vast !! We see new methodologies and technologies emerging at the speed of light to simplify how we work, create, develop, and execute products. It can be exaggerated, but honestly, the speed of evolution of these technologies seems to be faster than the evolution of mankind. This pace picked up with the revolution of smartphones. There are around 6.92 billion active smartphone users worldwide(Statista, 2023), and this number will only increase daily. With this ever-changing digital landscape, responsive and adaptive design has become a key differentiator between good and great products to support multiple devices and resolutions.

As designers, we always focus on end-user needs. For us, the end-user experience is of utmost importance. If the applications can’t simplify the end user’s workflows and tasks and make their experience enjoyable, what’s the point of our designs? But over the past few years, we have realized that as designers, we must also empathize with the business strategy and development teams’ constraints. We, as designers, also have to wear the hat of strategists!

About Bootstrap:

We are familiar with Bootstrap, and we understand that you are interested in gaining insights into Bootstrap from a designer’s perspective. Initially, when researching Bootstrap, it might have seemed overwhelming, making it difficult to determine where to start and how to proceed. However, we gradually grasped the significance of Bootstrap in simplifying the product development cycle.

Our research revealed that Bootstrap is highly popular and widely used as a front-end framework in the market. It is built upon the core web technologies of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Presently, there are approximately 3,932,942 websites and web applications utilizing Bootstrap, with around 3,080,668 unique domains currently active. Prominent technology giants such as Samsung, Twitter, Spotify, Udemy, Lyft, and numerous others have already adopted Bootstrap as part of their web development processes.

Who uses Bootstrap?

From what we read, ~4.57% of the Computers, Electronics & Technology sectors use Bootstrap, followed by ~3.82% of science & education companies and ~1.98% of the Arts & entertainment sectors globally. The USA, Russia, India, Germany & the UK are some leading countries actively using Bootstrap. These numbers prove the Bootstrap framework’s positive impact during the product development stage.

Bootstrap design data


Exploring the Benefits of Bootstrap for User Interface Design

Here are the benefits of Bootstrap for User Interface:

1. Streamlines the design and development process by providing a responsive grid system that adapts to various resolutions.

2. Ensures consistency across designs by offering predefined breakpoints for different screen sizes.

3. Facilitates automatic adjustment of design elements, saving time and effort during development.

4. Simplifies alignment and sequencing of elements with rows and nested elements.

5. Provides gutter space for visual alignment cues, reducing design and development time.

6. Offers flexibility in offsetting design elements to accommodate specific layout requirements.

7. Includes a range of color palettes for easy customization and a cohesive visual experience.

8. Well-documented components and plugins with live examples make it user-friendly for designers.

9. Aligns business goals with deliverables, enhancing overall efficiency and effectiveness in UI design.

Why do businesses use Bootstrap?

Numerous companies, spanning from large enterprises to smaller businesses, adopt Bootstrap with the objective of minimizing their time to market. This esteemed framework offers a multitude of advantages that facilitate rapid product design and development. The ensuing benefits highlight the efficacy of Bootstrap in achieving this aim:

Consistent Designs

One of the primary challenges encountered by design teams revolves around the imperative task of maintaining consistency across all designs. This issue becomes particularly pronounced when multiple designers are simultaneously engaged in a project. Despite the existence of style guides, designers frequently infuse their own creative inputs, inadvertently neglecting critical aspects such as uniform paddings and alignments. Regrettably, such inconsistencies often lead to incompatible designs, necessitating additional iterations and subsequently prolonging the overall design and development timeline.

Fortunately, Bootstrap presents an effective remedy to address this quandary. By leveraging its comprehensive design library, Bootstrap empowers design teams to assert substantial control over design consistency throughout the product, even across varying resolutions.

Mobile-first Designs & Development

As mobile usage continues to surge, with individuals relying on their smartphones for accessing various applications, many companies are adopting a mobile-first approach. In such cases, it is not always essential to replicate all features uniformly across all resolutions. Instead, we can focus on tailoring these features to align with the user journeys specific to each resolution or device. Bootstrap simplifies this process by enabling progressive enhancement of features based on different resolutions, thereby facilitating a more efficient and customized user experience.

Responsive Grid Structure

Bootstrap encompasses a versatile framework featuring a 12-column structure, facilitating swift and effortless integration with diverse designs. This framework supports a wide range of nested and offset elements, granting designers ample flexibility. Whether aiming for a responsive grid or a fixed layout, Bootstrap offers customizable options to suit varying requirements. Moreover, developers can utilize Bootstrap with popular styling languages such as LESS, CSS, and SASS, expanding its compatibility and potential for creating responsive designs tailored to different devices.

Ready-made Components and Resources

These components greatly expedite the development process, offering a distinct advantage by enabling the development team to swiftly implement various layouts without constantly relying on designers for assistance. Within Bootstrap’s extensive library, you’ll find pre-styled elements such as typography, forms, images, navigation bars, dropdown components, and alerts. This comprehensive collection streamlines the coding process and ensures that organized and reusable code can be readily accessed. Additionally, Bootstrap guarantees a straightforward and concise code structure, simplifying development tasks.

Things to keep in mind while working with Bootstrap

The decision to utilize Bootstrap as a design framework is a strategic choice made at the business level, which designers must adapt to. Its impact on the overall business is substantial. Despite the abundance of documentation available for developers to understand and implement Bootstrap, there is a lack of concise and comprehensible resources specifically tailored for designers to grasp the reasons why it serves as an ideal design framework.

To shed light on the key differentiators, let’s delve into the following aspects:

1. Grid System:

Bootstrap provides a foundational responsive grid that can be customized to suit specific needs. While adhering to a mobile-first approach, Bootstrap offers guidelines for adapting designs to various resolutions within certain constraints. Designers must familiarize themselves with the 12-column grid structure employed by Bootstrap to ensure a seamless transition from design to development. The unawareness of the pros and cons of Bootstrap has hindered the smooth integration of designs into the development phase. The 12-column grid divides the screen, with margin space on the sides, and defines the gutter space between columns. This preconfigured grid facilitates automatic adjustment of design elements to supported resolutions, streamlining the development process. Even for non-responsive designs unique to different resolutions, Bootstrap simplifies the implementation for the team.




Why use 12 columns? 

12 is the most easily divisible among reasonably small numbers. You can have 12, 6, 4, 3, 2, or 1 evenly spaced columns, which makes our design decisions a lot easier when you work with these restrictions in mind. Using this grid also allows the developers to predefine the screen resolutions/breakpoints & the number of columns associated with it. This means that all they have to do is set it up once and no need to develop each screen size separately. Generally, experts suggest that we align our design elements to the left in each column. Bootstrap’s columns are percentage-based (instead of pixel-based) this means that the content automatically adjusts based on the device screen size. 

Here are some resources that can help you to get started with bootstrap grids:


2. Breakpoints/Screen sizes (The Container)

Screen resolution or breakpoints serve as the canvas on which designs are displayed. The diverse range of digital devices available in the market presents a challenge in creating a consistent user experience. Bootstrap offers predefined breakpoints to accommodate various screen sizes, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. These breakpoints enable designers to efficiently test their designs across different devices, saving significant time during the development phase.

Here are the screen sizes/breakpoints in bootstrap:

  • Extra small(xs):  320px – 577px (Smartphones)
  • Small(sm):  575px – 767px (Smartphones)
  • Medium(md) : 768px – 991px(Tablets)
  • large(lg) : 992px – 1199px(Laptops)
  • Extra large(xl):  1200px + (Desktops)

Breakpoints Screen sizes bootstrap design

Read more:

3. Different numbers of columns at different widths

Bootstrap assigns a specific number of columns to each screen resolution. For example, a text box spanning 8 columns on a 1920 desktop resolution can easily be configured to adjust across 4 columns on a responsive mobile screen. Bootstrap suggests 4 columns for mobile resolutions to avoid content compression issues. By ensuring different numbers of columns for different resolutions, Bootstrap guarantees consistent and user-friendly designs across the application.


4. Gutter Space

Gutter space refers to the padding or space between columns. In Bootstrap, it provides visual alignment cues and reduces design and development time. It is advisable to avoid starting or ending designs within the gutter space. The amount of gutter space can be adjusted based on preference or project requirements, and it can even be eliminated entirely.

Gutter Space bootstrap

Gutter Space 2 bootstrap design

5. Rows

Rows represent horizontal design elements placed sequentially. In Bootstrap, elements on the right end of a row wrap to the next row based on the number of available columns. This behavior remains consistent even when designs are adapted to different screen resolutions, ensuring proper alignment and sequencing of elements.

Rows 1 Bootstrap Design

Rows 2 Bootstrap design

Rows 3 bootstrap design

When you further move down to lower screen sizes the blocks will stock up one below one another. However, the will still maintain the row sequence.

6. Nested elements

Nested elements refer to visually grouped elements within a row. They can span any number of columns as a group on a particular screen resolution. For instance, if a row contains three boxes covering a total of 12 columns on a desktop resolution, the first two boxes can be grouped together in one group of 8 columns, while the third box forms a separate group of 4 columns. On a mobile screen with 4 columns, the elements of the first group will be displayed in 4 columns, and any excess will wrap to a new row, followed by the second group.

Nested elements bootstrap

Nested elements 2 bootstrap

7. Offsets

While Bootstrap generally suggests aligning design elements to the left, offsets allow for custom positioning or alignment adjustments. Developers can define offset spaces from the start of columns, but it is important to verify how these adjustments render across different resolutions to maintain the overall visual integrity of the page.

Offset 1 Bootstrap Design

Offset 2 Bootstrap Design

Offset 3 Bootstrap Design

8. Color

Bootstrap offers a range of color palettes for different states, fields, and actions, facilitating easy assignment and management of colors. This enables swift changes to the overall appearance of the product or web application without the need for individual element tweaking.

color bootstrap


Bootstrap stands as one of the most exceptional frameworks available, offering features that greatly expedite the design and development process. It saves significant time and effort in both designing and coding applications. Detailed documentation, including live examples and code blocks, accompanies every component and plugin, making it easier to use and customize. Embracing Bootstrap allows business strategists to align their goals with deliverables effectively.

For more such insights, check out our other blogs.

Questions That Designers Have

1. What is Bootstrap in UI design?

Bootstrap is a popular front-end framework used in UI design that provides a set of pre-designed components and styles to streamline the development process.

2. Do UI designers use Bootstrap?

Yes, UI designers often use Bootstrap as it offers ready-made components and a responsive grid system that simplifies the design process and ensures consistency across different devices.

3. How to use Bootstrap for design?

To use Bootstrap for design, designers can leverage its pre-styled elements and responsive grid structure, customize designs within the framework’s guidelines, and implement ready-made components to expedite development.

4. What is the purpose of the Bootstrap?

The purpose of Bootstrap is to enhance the efficiency of product development by providing consistent designs, facilitating mobile-first approaches, offering a responsive grid structure, and providing a library of ready-made components and resources.

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