Creating an online webshop – making home home
Compliments is a Danish interior design brand rooted in Nordic design traditions. By providing a large assortment of different fabrics, patterns and colors, the brand makes it possible for everyone to create a unique and personal look.
At the beginning of 2015, Compliments set out to become a major interior design brand in Denmark. In order to achieve this goal they got in touch with us.
Our team consisted of two freelancers. We had been working together as freelancers on a multitude of projects, but this would be our biggest endeavor to date. Quite a daunting task when you look at some of the required features: a complete web shop with restricted retailer access, a lookbook, an image bank, a store locator, in addition to all the regular website features.
Being a small, close-knit team, and having been given almost complete creative freedom by the client, we were able to experiment a lot and try out new ideas. Because of this, working on the project always felt fresh and exiting. We basically did what is usually reserved for the client to do – we feature crept ourselves.
We tried out a lot of different designs for the product grid, but in the end we chose a full width minimalistic approach with big product images, because sometimes bigger just is better. The design as a whole is pretty minimalistic which lets the images define the look and feel of the website.
A key part of the design are the different customizable color schemes that each product consists of. Each color scheme complements the primary colors in the product image. It’s a simple visual trick, but it makes each product page feel more unique and vibrant.
The top navigation is designed to contain the most important links, while the right hand side “off-canvas” menu acts as an overview of all the important content on the website. An off-canvas menu such as this enables the client to add more links and sections over time without being limited by design restrictions on smaller screens.
The technical stuff
As the CMS we chose WordPress with a heavily customized WooCommerce integration. WordPress has a user interface that has proved to be easy to use by content editors. It also has excellent features out of the box to handle multiple user levels. This was required in order to handle retailer and press specific user roles, since some of the features and sections on the website are password protected.
We wanted an eCommerce platform that wouldn’t limit us or put a damper on our ability to experiment. WooCommerce ticked all the boxes. First of all, it’s a free open source eCommerce plugin that integrates seamlessly with WordPress. Secondly, it’s easy to customize, overwrite and extend the core functionality of WooCommerce if you are already proficient with WordPress. This made the decision pretty straightforward given the amount of customizing we knew we would need to do in order to meet our client’s expectations.
It was important that customers browsing the website on a mobile device would not feel that it was optimized for small screens as an afterthought. Therefore, we developed the website mobile first, making sure that each part of the site worked as intended on all devices and screen sizes and that no information was reserved for desktop users.
As our build system we chose Gulp to compile and combine our SASS and JS files, and Bower as our package manager.
BrowserSync was used to proxy our development server and synchronize code changes across devices. When you use BrowserSync, every click, touch, swipe and scroll is mirrored between whatever devices you wish to test on. This is a huge help when developing a responsive website.
Since we tried out a lot of different ideas, version control via git branches was a great tool. This enabled us to quickly roll back a feature or design choice if it wasn’t working out.
For quality assurance and bug tracking we used Trello to organize our tasks. In Trello you can add comments, checklists and attachments to each task, and you are able to delegate these tasks to different team members.
When Compliments hired us, their main goal was to create a new digital platform in order to position themselves as a major interior design brand in Denmark. We made their new website come to life, and now an effective social media strategy ensures that the number of visitors is steadily growing each day.
Winning “Site of The Day” on Awwwards and seeing our hard work come to fruition was a great feeling. It proved to us that a small, passionate team of freelancers can achieve great things.