Sparkle "not responsive" builder?

Before I get into a simple question let me setup my background so you understand my knowledge - and lack of:

I’m neither a web-designer nor code-monkey. I cut my teeth on iWeb, frustrated myself for months trying to learn Freeway Pro, spent a minute with Muse, spent a second with EverWeb, had been using WiX for about 3 years and just dumped it for Sparkle. Couldn’t be happier; in the process of doing a ground-up rebuild for both my company sites which are offline because I wanted to be off WiX entirely and immediately. (Why I bolted from WiX is another thread entirely…)

Because I’m not the guy who will ever learn something deep like Dreamweaver I’m always hunting for new tools that will allow me to concentrate on the creative and not constantly fighting the app to do things the way my swiss-cheese brain works.

I recently saw a thread from an experienced web-designer (can’t find the thread now) who was making comparisons between Sparkle and Blocs; it ended up being a wash between capabilities, but he kept going on about how sites in Sparkle aren’t truly “responsive” nor “mobile optimized”. ??

This throws me because I thought the whole point of “viewpoints” or “breakpoints” was to create a responsive site. Am I not understanding what “responsive” is supposed to mean?

For example in WiX, when you build for the desktop you switch to the mobile editor and “fix” how their software automatically places items, i.e. text size, element location/size etc.

To me this is fairly similar to how Sparkle handles things - so how is it that it’s not responsive to the viewers?

If it’s a simple answer, refer to my opening paragraph about my lack of expertise in this area…

(PS - I did try the demo of Blocs; I can see where it’s got some capabilities over Sparkle but good god… the learning curve I can’t justify and, Sparkle lets me create my layout in a way my brain can understand. Capiche?)

Some people get terms wrong, even though they mean something specific that is true.

Here’s a basic glossary of responsive web design:

  • “responsive” means the site will adapt to the visiting device, there are a few ways to do this from a technical point of view, the only one that is generally accepted as being superior also for SEO reasons is to do it via so called “CSS media queries”, so all the layouts are baked in CSS and the browser has the ability to follow instructions and pick the layout that works for its current state (essentially window or device width)
  • so by using CSS media queries, the site builder implements a “layout switcher”
  • for any given layout, the content can stretch to the browser edges or not, if it does it’s called a “fluid” layout, otherwise it’s called a “fixed” layout
  • some people conflate “responsive” with “fluid layout switcher”

Currently Sparkle is a hybrid in that it produces a fixed layout switcher, except for full width elements that are fluid.

What that person mean is probably that Sparkle isn’t a 100% fluid layout switcher.


“Johnny on the spot”, as always Duncan. Much appreciated for the info and quick reply.

I hope one day soon you can grow Sparkle to the point you can hire some customer service staff to offload some of these newbie questions so you can enjoy your life more!!

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Oh boy! I hope it wasn’t me! I would hate to think that I explained it incorrectly or in a confusing-like way! :frowning:

As a full time web designer myself I love Sparkle for its creative simplicity and how it works with desktop, tablet, and all mobile devices! :slight_smile:

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You are correct in your assessment. Sparkle is indeed a better product for those who prefer to design rather than make-do with a standard framework. Unlike framework solutions, such as Blocs, Sparkle gives you absolute freedom to design your pages how you want them. The trade-off with the sparkle solution is that you have to move and resize things about on each breakpoint. This is the flexibility option kicking-in. If you are a graphic designer, I’m sure you will be more comfortable with Sparkle. To be fair, the Blocs solution is also a good option but it does limit your design flexibility. Personally, I use both, but I have found that blocs requires considerably more tinkering under the hood if you want to bend the rules of its framework layout. I like sparkle for those sites where the customers has a specific vision in mind and who does not necessarily want to be confined to a specific format. You can layout things like you were laying out a design on paper. Moving from one breakpoint to another to make adjustments is actually a nice option, and is very easy to do. From your perspective, I would go the Sparkle route - it’s a tool you will better understand and will allow you to run wild with design and layout ideas. Enjoy!!


And as you imagine we are very aware of this and will be improving automation where possible, while leaving the freedom where desired.


It is amusing that no one mentions “does this web site create an experience that makes my customers happy.” Boy, I have been running across a lot of very pretty web sites that are just terrible as a sales tool. The sliding frame thing is the 2020 version of the animated cursor.

@TBorNot, I would hazard a guess that most of those “pretty” websites are DIY or pre-fabricated template solutions with plug and play! Or are you talking about Sparkle created websites?

You most certainly can have a “pretty” website with a solid “sales-flow” behind it and the elements used, like the sliding hero, adding to the CTA but of course it has to be done so with the intended targeted audience in mind!

I think animation is great when used sparingly. Most common mistakes in my opinion is to overuse it.

A little goes along way.



Agree wholeheartedly!
Animations are a temptation that remind me of what happens when you let someone use PowerPoint for the first time…and they go wild with all its “toys”. Have you ever had to hold your tongue while you sat through one of those?
Yeah, me, too!


The best use for animations is if you want to draw attention to an interactive element on mobile versions of pages. On desktop and laptop devices, you have mouseover effects that can be applied to indicate to users that something will happen if the element is clicked. Unfortunately, that options doesn’t work on mobiles, so something like a pulsating animation on an interactive element can draw people to it and indicate that it’s something that should be tapped.

I appreciate all the responses; nice to know my instinctive response to Sparkle is backed up by others with a “common-sense” approach to site design.

A few thoughts about “pretty” vs “sell-able”:

In my industry, there have been long-standing visual production tools that have become affordable to the average filmmaker. Three of them being slow-mo footage (over-crank), stabilized walkers (Steadicam clones) and, drones. As soon as these hit the market in mass numbers everyone was using them in practically every shot, whether it was a full-on commercial spot or just a YouTube “see what I can do!” clip.

The problem is all of them are now so over-used that they’ve become passe, even annoying to watch. Who cares about seeing a person write on paper in slow-motion, for example?! Does it add to the story, or sell the product/service/person better? 99% percent of the time the answer is a resounding “no”.

I think web-animations of any kind have fallen into this same category, where too much “pretty” becomes self-serving nonsense and detracts from the message that needs to be served to the viewer.

Unlike movies, websites are in point of fact supposed to be informational in nature, giving the viewer quick and easy-to-understand verbiage (or imagery) that clearly describes the mission of the website and/or stuff it’s representing. I’ve seen all too many sites - some attached to international brands - that are so full of visual fluff that the product or service it’s supposed to represent gets buried in optical playland. Which means as a selling or informational tool it fails miserably.

Let’s face it, original “Web 1.0” sites were ugly, and looked more like reading a poorly designed restaurant menu. And getting one built required at a minimum two different people; a dyed-in-the-wool graphic designer that came from a commercial-print background to create a visually interesting layout and, a “code monkey” web person who could translate it into an actual site.

I’ll never be a code monkey, don’t have that type of mind or patience. But so far Sparkle is allowing me to design a site that’s at least as good-looking as it is informational based on my years of producing visual content.

So I’m glad to see others with a similar mindset - and similar mental toolkit that Sparkle works for.

Thanks again, Duncan!


Totally agree with your statement. :+1:


Agree. It’s a little like the overuse of options. Just because you have an animation doesn’t mean you have to use it. I’ve seen moving and dancing icons that ultimately detract from the message.
I’ve always used the analogy of an artist or painting. Just because you have fluorescent yellow doesn’t mean you have to use a splash.

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Totally agree with what you are saying.

I’m into composing and music, and the analogy can also be applied to this as well. There are so many over hyped productions, and the production takes over from the raw talent (or not) of the performer.

I think a lot of us (especially myself) should spend a little time researching and looking at web designs that stand out, have excellent design and most importantly that cleverly conveys great content, colour space, and is able to engross the visitor on an emotional level as well.

Now has anyone got some suggestions please!


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It’s a funny place the web and although it is great that the average person has access to it and is able to express themselves I ponder on the fact if this was their “storefront” is this what I would see?

If you are promoting an online business of any sorts it is a MUST to see it from the ideal client’s perspective and if not you are only online glorifying yourself! That said it is a bit different when you are promoting yourself (personal brand) and your portfolio.

In the end it is your ideal client that will put their hands in their pocket and confusing and distracting them when you only have 30-40 seconds (and that is if they are slightly interested) is leaving money on the table. A human by nature freezes up when presented with too many options - it is the way we are wired!

A good book out there which would be a really GOOD start is “Building A Story Brand” by Donald Miller! :slight_smile:

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Good idea. Obviously learn the fundamentals of design. But most of all learn good typography. I’m thankful for the empowerment a program like Sparkle brings, but unfortunately there’s a lot of awkward to horrible typography and brutal “design” when beginning “designers” do it themselves.

While that is true, the same was said of newbies using desktop publishing tools in the early 80s. Oh the horrors! All those fonts and colors! But you know what? It was liberating. You no longer had the two hurdles of needing to know design and how printing presses worked. I think that worked out great.