Materialize vs Skeleton

CSS frameworks are essential tools for web developers, providing pre-written CSS classes that can be used to style websites efficiently. Among the many frameworks available, Materialize and Skeleton stand out for their unique features and use cases. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at both frameworks, comparing their features, ease of use, community support, and more to help you decide which one is the best fit for your project.

Introduction to Materialize

Materialize is a modern responsive front-end framework based on Material Design by Google. It provides a rich set of components and styles that adhere to the Material Design guidelines, offering developers a quick way to create attractive and functional web interfaces.

Key Features of Materialize

  • Pre-designed Components: Materialize comes with a variety of ready-to-use components such as buttons, cards, navbars, and more.
  • Responsive Grid: It includes a 12-column fluid grid system that helps in creating responsive layouts.
  • JavaScript Plugins: Materialize offers several jQuery-based JavaScript plugins for additional UI interactions like modals, dropdowns, and tabs.
  • Customizable: Through SASS files, Materialize can be easily customized to fit the design needs of your project.

Materialize Documentation and Installation

To get started with Materialize, visit the official documentation page. The installation can be done via npm, yarn, or by including CDN links directly in your HTML file.

<!-- Compiled and minified CSS -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="">

<!-- Compiled and minified JavaScript -->
<script src=""></script>

Popular Third-Party Addons for Materialize

While Materialize itself is quite comprehensive, there are third-party addons and libraries that can extend its capabilities:

  • MaterializeCSS-Addons: A collection of additional components and styles for Materialize.
  • Material Icons: Google’s Material Icons library integrates seamlessly with Materialize for a wide range of icons.

Materialize Code Sample

Here’s a simple example of a responsive navbar using Materialize:

  <div class="nav-wrapper">
    <a href="#" class="brand-logo">Logo</a>
    <ul id="nav-mobile" class="right hide-on-med-and-down">
      <li><a href="sass.html">Sass</a></li>
      <li><a href="badges.html">Components</a></li>
      <li><a href="collapsible.html">JavaScript</a></li>

Introduction to Skeleton

Skeleton is a lightweight CSS framework designed to be a starting point for the development of responsive websites. Unlike Materialize, Skeleton is not a UI kit but rather a simple boilerplate that includes basic styling for common HTML elements and a responsive grid.

Key Features of Skeleton

  • Minimalist Approach: Skeleton is minimal and only includes the bare essentials for a responsive design.
  • Responsive Grid: Like Materialize, Skeleton also offers a 12-column fluid grid, but with a simpler approach.
  • Lightweight: The entire Skeleton framework is only around 400 lines of code, making it extremely lightweight and fast to load.
  • No JavaScript: Skeleton is purely CSS and does not include any JavaScript, which means it won’t conflict with other scripts you may include.

Skeleton Documentation and Installation

Skeleton is straightforward to install and can be included in your project by downloading the CSS file from the official website or using a CDN.

<!-- Skeleton CSS file -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="">

Popular Third-Party Addons for Skeleton

Being a minimal framework, Skeleton doesn’t have as many third-party addons as Materialize. However, the community has created some plugins for extended functionality:

  • Skeleton-Sass: A Sass port of Skeleton for those who prefer using a preprocessor for their stylesheets.

Skeleton Code Sample

Here’s an example of a responsive grid layout using Skeleton:

<div class="container">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="one-half column">50%</div>
    <div class="one-half column">50%</div>

Comparison of Materialize and Skeleton

When comparing Materialize and Skeleton, it’s important to consider the scope and goals of your project. Materialize offers a comprehensive suite of styled components and interactive JavaScript plugins, making it suitable for projects where a rich user interface is desired. On the other hand, Skeleton is ideal for projects that require a lightweight, no-frills approach to responsive design.

Design Philosophy

Materialize is heavily influenced by Google’s Material Design, which is evident in its components and animations. Skeleton, however, provides basic styling that is meant to be built upon, giving developers more creative freedom.


Customization in Materialize can be more complex due to its larger set of components and styles. Skeleton’s simplicity makes it easier to customize, as there are fewer styles to override.


Skeleton’s lightweight nature means it has a smaller footprint and faster load times compared to Materialize. For projects where performance is a critical factor, Skeleton may be the better choice.

Community and Support

Materialize has a larger community and better support, with more resources and third-party addons available. Skeleton’s community is smaller, but the framework’s simplicity means that developers may not require as much support.

Use Cases

Materialize is well-suited for developers who want to adhere to Material Design principles and create feature-rich applications without spending a lot of time on styling. Skeleton is best for developers who need a minimal starting point for creating a responsive website and prefer to add their own styles and functionality.


Both Materialize and Skeleton have their strengths and are tailored to different types of projects. Materialize is feature-rich and aligned with Material Design, making it a good choice for more complex web applications. Skeleton, with its minimalist approach, is perfect for simple projects that prioritize speed and flexibility. Your choice between the two should be guided by the specific needs of your project and your design preferences.

Accessibility Considerations

When choosing between Materialize and Skeleton, it’s also worth considering the accessibility of your website. Accessibility is crucial for creating inclusive web experiences that are usable by everyone, including people with disabilities.

Materialize Accessibility

Materialize has some built-in accessibility features, such as ARIA attributes in its components. However, because it relies heavily on JavaScript for some of its UI components, you should ensure that these components are still accessible when JavaScript is disabled or when users navigate via keyboard or screen readers.

Skeleton Accessibility

Skeleton, being a CSS-only framework, doesn’t provide any JavaScript-based components that could potentially hinder accessibility. Its simplicity allows developers to implement their own accessible solutions. However, as with any framework, you still need to ensure that your final product meets accessibility standards by using semantic HTML and proper ARIA roles.

Browser Compatibility

Browser compatibility is another important aspect to consider. Your choice of CSS framework can affect how well your site performs across different browsers.

Materialize Browser Support

Materialize supports modern browsers and ensures that its components work seamlessly across them. However, due to its reliance on some modern CSS features and JavaScript, there may be compatibility issues with older browsers.

Skeleton Browser Support

Skeleton’s simplicity means it has excellent compatibility with all modern browsers and even some older ones. Its lightweight grid system and basic styles don’t rely on cutting-edge CSS features, which generally translates to better support for a wider range of browsers.

Learning Curve

The learning curve is a key factor, especially if you’re working with a team or if you’re new to front-end development.

Learning Curve for Materialize

Materialize has a steeper learning curve due to its extensive list of components and JavaScript plugins. New users will need to spend time understanding the framework’s structure and how to implement and customize its components properly.

Learning Curve for Skeleton

Skeleton is very straightforward and easy to learn, making it an excellent choice for beginners or for those who want to quickly prototype a project. Its documentation is concise, and since there are fewer components to learn, developers can get up to speed very quickly.


Scalability is crucial for projects that are expected to grow over time. The framework you choose should be able to accommodate increasing complexity without becoming unwieldy.

Scalability with Materialize

Materialize’s comprehensive feature set makes it well-suited for large-scale applications. Its grid system and components are designed to work well on both small and large screens, and its customization options allow it to scale as your project grows.

Scalability with Skeleton

While Skeleton is great for small projects, its minimalistic approach might not be suitable for larger applications. As your project scales, you might find yourself needing to write more custom code to supplement the framework’s basic offerings.

Community and Ecosystem

A strong community and ecosystem can be invaluable for getting support, finding resources, and extending the capabilities of a framework.

Materialize Community and Ecosystem

Materialize has a vibrant community with a wealth of resources available, including third-party plugins, add-ons, and themes. This ecosystem can be a significant advantage when you’re looking for solutions to specific problems or when you want to extend the framework’s capabilities.

Skeleton Community and Ecosystem

Skeleton’s community is smaller, and the ecosystem is not as extensive. However, its simplicity means that you might not need as much community support. For additional functionality, you may need to rely on other libraries or write your own extensions.


In conclusion, both Materialize and Skeleton offer unique advantages that cater to different project requirements. Materialize is well-suited for developers looking to create a feature-rich, visually consistent application based on Material Design principles. Its extensive component library and JavaScript integration can significantly speed up development time for complex projects.

On the other hand, Skeleton is perfect for those who need a lightweight, no-frills framework that provides the essentials for creating responsive websites. Its minimalistic approach allows for fast load times and easy customization, making it ideal for simple projects or as a starting point for more customized designs.

Ultimately, the choice between Materialize and Skeleton should be based on the specific needs of your project, your design goals, and your personal or team’s familiarity with the framework. Consider factors like accessibility, browser compatibility, learning curve, scalability, and community support to make an informed decision that will best serve your project now and in the future.

Remember, no framework is a one-size-fits-all solution, and the best choice is always the one that aligns with your project requirements and helps you achieve your goals efficiently and effectively. Whether you choose Materialize or Skeleton, ensure that you’re delivering a high-quality, accessible, and responsive user experience.

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