The guy behind the virtual counter
The guy behind the virtual counter
We are all about the love of dogs here at DogeStyles and I like to throw in the odd pun or two along the way to keep the brand lighthearted, like the name of this particular blog, "Pawl's Mutt-erings". "Pawl" being my alter ego and "mutt-erings" just because mutt is a slang term for a dog. Through this blog posting I hope to convey a bit about myself and to demonstrate a few things that I have altered in this particular theme to make it suit our requirements. You can also learn more about me on my Personal Profile website.
It's a dog's life
Not all dogs are lucky and it is the lucky ones that have wonderful owners who love to spoil their fur-friends. It was this concept that the idea for this eCommerce site was borne, to make available in one place, a selection of dog clothing and accessories that are funky, not "run of the mill", and that will make you and your dog stand out from the pack.
Using this concept as a starting point, I came up with the brand name "Dogestyles" as it speaks of exactly what the store does, selling stylish dog clothes online, and because the name is slightly edgy, which aligns with our ethos to be funky and different.
All this feeds into the creation of the logo. I developed several concepts then settled on the final version that is used across the website and all of our marketing materials. Looking at the logo you can see that I incorporated the word "dog" into the head, have one eye winking as a nod to the cheekiness of the brand and I added a stylish bow-tie to convey the funkiness aspect. The colours used are striking and the tagline "it's a dog thing", is another nod to the cheekiness of the brand. It's not that we don't take ourselves seriously here, we do, it's just because we like to have fun along the way. The name alone helps with marketing as I also realise that the internet is a very crowded place and you need to shout loud to be seen and heard.
Using the Shopify platform for the first time was not a steep learning curve for me as I have experience using other eCommerce platforms such as WooCommerce, Magento, OpenCart and PrestaShop. My background is that I have recently graduated from Dundalk Institute of Technology in Ireland with a First Class Honours, BSc (Hons) in Multimedia Web Development, which allowed me to develop strong creative and technical design skills in Multimedia Web Applications Development and to attain the cross-disciplinary capabilities of both designing and programming. Part of the course was a work placement for six months, in which I worked for a company that specialised in Search Engine Optimisation but also developed, maintained and optimised websites for clients that would rank highly for SEO purposes. This hands on experience was invaluable and gave me the confidence to develop websites, logos and branding materials for several companies and organisations on a freelance basis.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the alterations that I made to this Venture theme to make it fit our needs.
- In the theme.liquid file I added to the <head> section a Google Site Verification code and I also added <script> & <link> tags to add the latest jQuery and fancyBox files. The fancybox was implemented initially in two places but as the site developed it was only used on the contact page (page.contact.liquid) to hide the map, which the user can reveal in a light-box if required by clicking a button. This prevents the user's device unnecessarily loading the map, hence creating a better user experience on mobile devices.
- In the header.liquid file I moved the Account login link up to the right of the Search and Cart icons. It naturally appears in the navigation but to gain link space it was moved and I feel that for user experience reasons, a more natural place for it is where I have it now. The majority of users of this website will not be creating accounts, although the are able to, so having it less prominent and more of a secondary element, makes sense in my opinion. It still appears within the "Burger Menu" on mobile devices along with the "Search" field.
- A file named related-products.liquid was added to the Snippets folder and then an include was added to the product.liquid file so that a related products section would be visible at the bottom of a displayed product page.
- In the theme.scss.liquid file a few SASS variables where altered to suit aspects of the brand and I altered several classes to make some elements better for user experience. Examples of these are increasing the font size and changing the colour of the price on each product page and also changing the colour of the previous and next chevrons to a more prominent pink from a light grey on the product image thumbnail previewer. The user can now notice with ease that there are more images to view as opposed to the light grey coloured chevrons that might be hard to see on screens when outdoors.
- All images, page titles & descriptions, and page content has been optimised for SEO.
- Several third-party apps have been installed to enhance the experience of the user. An example is the "Lion Restock - Back In Stock Alerts" app which allows the user to complete a form and get an email alert when the item that they where wanting was back in stock.
- The "Order Printer" app was installed so that invoices could be printed easily. I created my own template from an existing one so that I could have the logo displayed on each one and the layout that I wanted. When printed off and included with each order, it makes the business look more professional.
- I purchased the domain name www.dogestyles.ie separately through a third party because I wanted the TLD ".ie" to associate the store with Ireland. To use it as the default domain I altered my DNS settings (A & CNAME records), to point it to Shopify.
- I used the "Zoho Workplace" application to create a custom email address (email@example.com) which looks more professional than a standard email account. This email is then redirected to a central email account for ease of tracking all emails related to the business.
Click on the images to open a gallery
Just a thought
Have you ever wondered what your dog has named you or what they would do if the world was the other way round? A perfect dog utopia if you may. If only, for a while just so humans might respect all animals. As a massive fan of animated comedy, this concept brings to mind an episode of Family Guy(Road to the Multiverse - S8 E1) where Brian and Stewie travel through alternate universes, including a world run by dogs in which humans are pets. If you want to view the clip then just click on the image.
And of course, because the internet is awesome you can easily find like-minded people who share your thoughts and aspirations. This video clip re-enforces the concept above.
Source: Gregory Baskwell
So that's me. I hope that this website conveys an image of my personality, work ethic and overall want to make the user experience as seamless as possible.
Until next time, your fur-friend, Pawl