I chatted with the folks at Mashable about why responsive media sites tend to look similar.
“It’s sort of the same way that all cars look more or less the same. There’s only so many ways you can design a doorknob to where it’s going to be effective,” said Brad Frost, a web designer that has worked on the websites for TechCrunch and Entertainment Weekly.
Ultimately, I think there are few reasons for this. The first is that (as mentioned above) there’s only so many ways to arrange an interface so that it will be an effective, enjoyable experience. The second is that different categories (i.e. media sites, or higher ed, or e-commerce) tend to look closely at what their competitors are doing. The larger the organization, the harder it is to push boundaries and do something totally new.