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Think of Phonegap as the foundation of the app. The next step is deciding on how to build the house. There a lot of UI frameworks that can assist yo. I love working with Ionic, heck I even wrote a book on it for O'Reilly. But you also can look at Framework7, Onse, KendoUI as options.
You don't have to use a UI framework, but it is probably a good idea. Each framework is going to require some additional learning. You will also need to understand how Cordova plugin system works as well.
hope to clears up somethings for you. Good luck!
OK, this is helping; thanks! For others coming by this post in the future, googling ”phonegap ionic”, ”phonegap framework7”, and other such things is likely to be helpful.