Responsive Miva Merchant + Custom Bootstrap Framework
Owner John Pringle approached us with a two-part project. The immediate goal: make his existing website responsive in order to avoid any SEO backlash from Mobilegeddon. Long term? Make it gorgeous.
Genuine Dog Gear manufactures and sells a terrific line of dog toys, specially designed to assist in dog training. Their sister company, Sylvans & Sons, produces beautiful collars, leashes, and harnesses. John’s long-term goal is to consolidate both lines into a single website, without alienating long-term Sylvans customers. In addition to the goals above, this website redesign was another step in that direction.
Phase 1: Miva Merchant Suivant and CSSUI
With Mobilegeddon already happening, and Google beginning to penalize non-mobile-friendly sites in the mobile search results pages, Genuine Dog Gear needed a quick solution to making their site appealing to phone- and tablet-based users. Miva Merchant provides a number of new, responsive frameworks, and one of the more popular ones is called Suivant. It’s a fairly standard design, but it’s responsive and easy to install…assuming the site in question is using the CSSUI interface, that is.
Anyone who’s worked with Miva Merchant knows that converting a store from the old MMUI interface to the newer CSSUI is not exactly straightforward. But this was something GenuineDogGear.com needed in order to move to Suivant, and it was a good thing to have in place down the road. (Miva plans to end-of-life the MMUI interface at some yet-to-be-determined future date.)
Phase 1 involved building a brand new store on top of the CSSUI framework, including Miva’s ReadyThemes functionality and the Suivant framework. The new Suivant-based website went live at the end of June, and gave the client exactly what they needed: a mobile-friendly Miva Merchant website.
Phase 2: A Custom Look and Feel
The permanent goal was to provide a unique, custom look and feel for Genuine Dog Gear. Now that the immediate goal had been met, we turned our focus to design. The client wanted a color palette that appealed to both men and women – soft but not pastel. We created a harmony of teal and coral, giving the site a modern feel without being either garish or hard. The typography, which combines Google fonts Raleway and Merriweather, complements the modern design.
We also wanted to feature the product photography front-and-center. The homepage carousel, as well as the introduction to the Sylvans & Sons product line, showcases the products in use.
Some of the fun programming work we did includes the ability for every retail customer to choose a free gift before checking out. This was coded completely using Miva’s SMT language, and didn’t require a custom module. (It’s amazing how robust the SMT templating language has become in recent years.)
Genuine Dog Gear uses two different email service providers: Aweber for an autoresponder series, and Constant Contact for their promotional mailing list. Both were integrated into the site, in the footer and during checkout, and connected to the Aweber and Constant Contact APIs for immediate processing. The system requires no manual intervention on the part of the Genuine Dog Gear staff.
Our own Virtual Subcategories module was also put to use, allowing a second-level category to exist under multiple parents. This was a useful measure in combining the Genuine Dog Gear and Sylvans & Sons product lines, as it allows the Sylvans products to be grouped together in a special section, but to also exist under the functional categories that made the most sense. For example, customers can get to Sylvans collars by browsing the collars category, or by going directly to the Sylvans designer section.
Genuine Dog Gear relies on the following technology:
- Miva Merchant
- Magic Zoom Plus
- JSSOR Slider
“I am very well pleased with the work that Netblazon has done for our website. Susan Petracco is a pleasure to work with and very responsive to my inquiries, suggestions and problem reports. The goal for our first phase was to make our website mobile-friendly as quickly as possible, and we hit our target date with very few problems after we took the site live. We took more time with our second phase and it was well worth it. We’re thrilled with the appearance and functionality of the new genuinedoggear.com.” – John Pringle