Has anyone had good or bad experiences with template sites such as Template Monster? An old client of mine is asking whether it's a good idea to use them.
I've not worked with templates in the past, but somehow I feel naturally averse to them. Would be interested to hear the community's opinions on them before I respond to the client.
I don't know about you. But I have a hard time finding sites built with modern methology and high standard. The level of semantic richness and light-weight-ness (a new word?) I'm used to with my own templates just isn't there and is hindering me from doing my work properly.
I'm so used to working with very simple markup that there's little variation these days. Only some evolution and refining.
But I recon if you find a good enough template and just modify it, tip and tuck it where it's falling short or isn't what you've planned you could speed up the production phase. Propably also the prototyping/wireframing phase.
Think it depends on the quality of the template. Most I have seen have not been of very high quality. What about suggesting a premium wordpress theme, woothemes.com or similar? Think the important thing here is to steer them away from flash templates.
I may be wrong, but aren't sites like the one you linked still static? Another nod for using a good Wordpress theme.
I've been made to work with templates from Template Monster before and they're horrific - the PSD's are clearly very rushed (bad alignment) and most elements that should have been kept on separate layers with separate options have been merged.
Beyond the psd, you have a horrific package of table-layout .html files that were clearly exported from photoshop, which you will always need to re-code from scratch.
Really, really terrible.
If I recall correctly TemplateMonster as well as the German template provider Strato got into major trouble some years ago. They had outsourced the development of the templates to contractors who used images from Getty without payment or permission. The buyers of the templates, who had already payed for the templates, received additional bills over the amount of 1500 Euro from Getty.
I don't remember if they finally settled or if every user of the templates had to pay the bill, but since that day I'm very careful when using templates which contain pictures and not just css and html.
I think it depends on what the purpose of the site is. Take, for example, StackOverFlow. I think it is such a pleasant site to browse so I keep coming back answering questions. SuperUser is the same template but another site (same people, I know). In this case it does not bother me to have the same template on another site. I accepted the SO design as "Best I have seen so far for the purpose of answering questions" and when I come to SU, which has the same usage but different topic, I like it there from start. On the other hand (and now I will go into the danger zone) I was actually lost for a moment when I entered Doctype. I would rather see the SO template here.
But, in some cases you do not need your site for the purpose of being like another site but with different topics (like a Q/A site could use SO template) but want to be distinct of the big wide world out there. In that case a template can ruin your site as you will indeed become "one of those". So for instance, a company site merely giving information about a company I would not suspect to use a template (other than home-made ofcourse).
And of course, it is always better to have a template which works than make your own and have something which does not work.
I do not think you can say yes or no to templates. That is a question like: "Which programming language is best". It all depends on circumstances.
I'm a fan of hand-coded sites personally, but when I build sites for friends, I usually go with a modified Word Press theme just because it makes it so much easier for them to maintain the site and add/edit content themselves.
If the site is going to be mostly static, I agree with most of the posters who say that you get more satisfaction, customization and organized code with hand-written sites. But if you want to be able to turn the site over to the user once its done and not have to be involved every time they want to update the site, I'd go with a tried-and-true template site, since those are usually nicer for the client to deal with.
No doubt Template Monster provides good quality of templates but basically the best way to come up with is design your own theme ... though what I'm suggesting may be difficult at the moment but there is always a first time to everything and I'm pretty sure this would help you in future too... As per the time concerns it usually takes the same amount of thing to change things as it takes to make your own... but this totally depends on the changes needed ... and moreover the level of satisfaction will be more as compared to what you take other and change it ...