We Build Shopify Websites: The Popin Charms Case Study

We’re delighted to launch Popin Charms, a new Shopify-powered ecommerce site. The project was a collaboration with Creative Nation, who were responsible for project management, branding and graphic design. The responsibilities of Logo24 included development of a responsive Shopify theme.

Irish company, Popin Charms, opened it’s digital doors for business with the site launch. The company sells phone charms which visually decorate and functionally protect head phone inputs from dust and other undesired foreign objects.

I tweeted praise for Shopify recently, but it’s difficult to overstate how enjoyable the platform is to work with. Based on recommendations, and particularly after learning that Keir advocates the software, we decided to test drive it (Check out Keir and Elliot’s conference Insites ConfShop by the way). Of three recent Shopify projects, this is the first to launch and so earns its place as the case study subject.

In my experience, working with new platforms involves investment in the form of learning time. The transition from familiar software usually sees a dip in productivity, while that learning is taking place, followed by an rise to a higher performance level. To measure that potential performance increase, I usually look to code quality, popularity and community support, and usability intuitiveness, e.g. do I have to learn the sort of good, but odd, way something works, after which other operations will be considerably clearer, or do most operations make sense from the get go.

For the “how does this thing work” question, Shopify fell cleanly into the latter “this makes sense” category. It felt unusually familiar, like being in the house of a good friend who has recently moved. You put on the kettle, try a cupboard, find cups, try a drawer, find spoons. It’s a new place, but you have a sense of where stuff is. The result? The tea gets made faster, and is more enjoyable because of you can easily make yourself at home. It’s also more inviting to visit regularly. It can be difficult to frequent somewhere uncomfortable and confusing.

To put that into real terms, I found the liquid templating system, and simple theme file structure, quickly comprehensible. Once I tracked down the settings file, hooking up settings in the template editor was clear. The Shopify theme app is easy to use, for working locally, transferring files from multiple themes and shops. Configuring domains is well explained and the location of settings make sense.

Our client was also impressed with how easy the interface is to navigate. I tried a document-as-you-go approach, where, as questions arose, I shot a quick screencast answering them, using Jing. The result was a small library of project specific “how to” videos the client can refer to.

I haven’t measured it precisely, but it seems that video documentation has a better follow through rate, where clients more often complete certain tasks. Also, on four occasions we’ve received thanks for videos, but never for written documentation. One documentation medium isn’t necessarily superior, the subject to be explained dictates the right choice, and in this case videos win.

As for constructive criticisms, I’d love to be able to assign specific images to product variants. This is achievable with some hackery and isn’t on their road map. I’m sure I will add more wish list items during future projects, but that’s it for now.

If you have yet to try out Shopify, I recommend setting up a trial shop to play around with, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Read our testimonial from Popin Charms.

(Also full disclosure, we’re part of the Shopify Partner Program.)

Paddy O’Hanlon is a web designer and one of the principals at Logo24. He is a lover of good semantics, well documented and architected CSS, and beautiful, content-driven design. (Really the design-guise is a cover-up so he can covertly feed his travel addiction and climb many rocks around the world). He tweets @Paddy.

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