Design & Development
Let's build a site that sells.
Whether we're building you a new theme or optimizing your existing one, our design expertise will make your brand look great while selling more. Harnessing our deep understanding of user experience, we have mastered the art of creating websites that effortlessly drive sales. Whether you opt for a templated solution or a customized design, our expertise ensures that every aspect of your website is optimized to maximize conversions and increase average order value.
New Store Set Ups
We ensure your store is set up the right way, the first time. We can guide you through launching your store and help you with all the crucial decisions along the way. Which apps should you use? Which themes are good? We've got you covered.
A customized theme offers a higher level of flexibility and design customization. With this approach you can create a truly unique look and feel with features and functionality tailored to the specific needs of your customers.
Off-the-shelf themes allow you to redesign a store without the need for an extensive design and development process. These themes provide a cost-effective and time-efficient solution for launching projects quickly, while still offering customization options to tailor the design to your brand.
Theme Design and Development
At Electric Eye, we believe in providing tailored solutions that align with our clients' business needs and budgets. We’ve been designing and developing Shopify themes for our clients since 2016. Please explore our case studies. We offer two distinct paths: designing within the confines of an off-the-shelf theme or opting to customize the design of an off-the-shelf theme.
When we’re talking about an off-the-shelf theme, we’re referring to a theme from the Shopify theme store. These have also been referred to as premium themes. These themes are vetted by Shopify to ensure quality and security. We do not recommend themes from third-party marketplaces like ThemeForest, Template Monster, or Envato, nor will we utilize one for a project.
From Scratch Is Inefficient
We do not recommend fully custom themes. That is, a theme developed from scratch or from a proprietary framework. Fully custom themes are like a blank canvas and while they offer unparalleled creative freedom, that comes with significant trade-offs. These projects require additional months of design and development time, more maintenance post-launch, and increased budgets.
Headless Is Overkill
For the same reasons, we also do not recommend “headless” solutions. Headless is extremely custom. I've yet to meet a merchant where a headless solution was truly required. Some believe that the native Shopify architecture has performance issues that warrant a headless solution for optimal page speed. This is simply not true. It has been proven that a competent team is capable of achieving exceptional speed and performance using Shopify's front end, and that it can outperform a headless solution. In any custom scenarios, headless included, there’s also considerable upkeep and maintenance required.
You can circumvent the primary hindrances of a fully custom site by using an off-the-shelf theme as your starting point. These themes have a lot to offer out-of-the-box. They have more features built-in, have been QA’d and bug-tested by hundreds if not thousands of stores, and receive periodic updates. Custom themes, by comparison, only support what was originally scoped. Merchants can still get the design they want, with better functionality, by utilizing a templated theme as the starting point.
Our Goals Are Your Goals
We like to design and develop beautiful, performant themes for our clients. We want the new theme to increase conversion rate and average order value while looking great. We want the new design to help your customers buy more products, faster, and more often. We work with you on establishing a customer experience that will do just that, often adding extended features and functionality tailored to your customers and the experience they need. Here’s how we do it.
We need to understand your goals. Some brands need certain features or functionalities. Some have differing input on design; some are okay with a design that’s more templated, while others would like a more unique design. We’ll figure all of this out in the discovery process prior to kicking off design. Once we know the direction and general scope, we’ll get approval to move into design.
We always start with a Shopify Theme. Our team has a curated selection of preferred off-the-shelf themes that we recommend. We’ll help you in selecting the best theme for your project. As I mentioned earlier, we offer two choices: designing within an off-the-shelf theme or customizing the design of an off-the-shelf theme.
The Templated Approach
The first option is templated, where we’ll be designing within the limitations of an off-the-shelf theme. An excellent way to think about this approach is if it requires custom development, it’s more than likely out of scope. Even when we encounter out-of-scope requests, the answer isn’t immediately no. We’ll add it to a wishlist and discuss implementing it after the original scope is addressed.
Approaching a project this way has its advantages. It’s the quickest way to launch a new look and feel for your store. As we’re designing within the theme, once approved, we’re almost ready to launch. There are usually a few apps to integrate, but this approach circumvents a robust development phase. When we have good communication with a client, completing a project like this in just 1 to 2 months is very doable. With this approach taking less time, it’s also a more budget-friendly option.
This approach is also flexible. For brands that want to spread out their investment over time, this is a great phase one. We can further refine and customize the look and feel of your store at a later time.
At times, brands are turned off by this approach as they don’t want to look like everyone else. However, you would be surprised at just how unique stores can look without custom development. Once a brand's logo, colors, fonts, and assets are applied, the flexibility of the themes we choose result in a very unique store.
The Customized Approach
However, a templated approach is not the right approach for all brands and some truly desire a more customized look and feel. This is where our customized theme process comes into play. I want to point out that “customized” does not mean fully custom. It means certain pages and elements will be customized, while the rest is the theme's default design. Together we’ll identify the areas of the theme that need to be tailored to better fit your brand's needs.
Oftentimes, customizing a brand's homepage and product page is all that is required to get a result everyone is happy with. Sometimes we’re working on the about page or building out a landing page template that can be customized and reused within marketing campaigns. These pages and elements will be mutually agreed upon before we even get to design.
This approach will result in a design that is much more unique but it will take longer and require a higher investment. Design customizations require much more design, project management, and development time. These projects typically take around 3 - 4 months to complete, depending on how much customization is required.
Regardless of how templated or customized the design of your Shopify store will be, the overall process of the project is pretty standard. There will be a discovery period followed by the design phase. After the design is approved, we’ll move into development. Upon completion of all development, we conduct Quality Assurance (QA) testing. When everything passes QA, we’ll schedule a launch for the new design.
We do not have a formal discovery phase. Discovery happens within the sales conversations, during which we will learn all about the needs of the project, from both a design perspective and a functionality perspective. We’ll discuss inspiration and design direction. We will have the sitemap ironed out, identifying the pages/sections that are going to be templated or customized to be agreed upon before design. We’ll also have any extended functionality accounted for, with the apps and/or features identified. All of the project details will make it into the Statement of Work for approval. Once approved, we’ll move into design. If a request isn’t accounted for within the Statement of Work, it is usually considered out of scope. We’ll add anything that comes up along the way to the wishlist, and address it after the original project is completed.
Depending on the direction of the project, we will either start to design the theme within the Shopify customizer or Figma. Once we’re ready to share, we’ll have what's known as a revision round. A revision round is when we present your team with a page design and ask for feedback. We will then implement that feedback into the design. We use tools like Figma and MarkUp to get feedback. Our Shopify theme design projects standardly only come with a single revision round.
Our revision round is broken up a bit, as we’re not presenting the entire website design at once. We typically show our clients the homepage for feedback first, as this page is truly where the overarching design comes from. The design and sections of the homepage are used throughout the theme. From there, we move on to other pages with dedicated templates, such as the product page template, collection page, about page, or landing pages. We’ll then get approval for any lingering pages, like the contact page or policies.
Once the entire design is approved, we’ll move into development. Within development, we’ll be making any necessary changes to the UX of the site per the design customizations. This is also where we’ll be implementing any additional apps or customizations agreed upon in the Statement of Work. All of our Shopify theme designs are user-friendly, engaging, fully responsive & designed to be optimized on mobile. Using an off-the-shelf theme makes this process a lot more efficient, as we are only iterating and improving, instead of building from scratch.
Before launching this new theme, we’ve got to make sure everything works the way it should. Quality assurance (or QA) is a collaborative effort. While our team will meticulously test the theme for oddities, it's also vital that our clients and their teams actively participate in the QA process as well. Our aim is to catch and address any issues before we go live. Web design is complex and unexpected bugs sometimes arise post-launch. We provide a 30-day warranty period to address any bugs.
Designing a new store is a very fun process. We've been doing this for a very long time, arguably longer than the other agencies you might be talking to. Not to mention, we only work with Shopify. We’re true Shopify experts. We're passionate about helping ecommerce brands sell more while looking good. We’re honest about providing solutions that work with our clients' needs and budgets. Ultimately, we love creating beautiful, high-converting designs. We like increasing your conversion rates, increasing average order values, and making the purchasing experience a breeze for your customers. Whether you prefer a templated or customized design, our process works. We collaborate with you at every step, ensuring that your vision aligns with the end result. Let’s design an awesome new store together.
We have a portfolio of successful projects and case studies that showcase our work. We’ve been designing and developing Shopify themes for our clients since 2016. Feel free to explore our past work to gain insights into what we can achieve for your brand.
It’s very common for our clients to want to continue working with us after we’ve launched a new design. We offer retainer services for ongoing maintenance and optimization. We can ensure your theme remains up-to-date and continues to perform optimally. This is also how we address any of the wishlist items that come up during the process.