Design progressively

Sometimes it gets very difficult to make the right design decision, just because it’s a matter of time, because you can test that it is not working properly, and you think it’s better to change it.

If you, as me, are in that point, you will face a hard-to-face situation: re-design is needed.

Re-design doesn’t imply necessarily to change it all over again, sometimes it may happen that just minor cosmetic changes are enough, other times it may imply adding new functionality so your interface could be affected. Anyway, re-design is a task that should be done carefully, progressively unintrusevely and wisely.

Be careful to not to destroy the good ideas you already design it. Do it progressively to be sure that new changes are working perfectly. Do not be intrusive, do not stop in the middle of a change that can require a double effort for the user to be understood. Finally, be wise, small changes should follow the strategy to go in the right direction and not to go back to an endless point of your design.

Tips from above are mainly for myself, as you can see in the picture, I’m applying small changes to Pompitas de Málaga ecommece, cleaning it up and optimising space. Hope to finish it soon and hope you hardly notice anything.


Pompitas de Málaga with Drupal

List of modules

Below you can see the list of the main modules used in combination with the Ubercart distribution provided by Drupal.

  • Ad
  • Administration menu
  • Content (CCK)
  • Content Permissions (CCK)
  • Node reference (CCK)
  • Chaos Tools (CTools) 
  • Blog
  • Contact
  • Menu
  • Path
  • Ping
  • Profiles
  • Statistics
  • Taxonomy
  • Upload
  • Date API
  • Devel
  • Facebook social
  • Imagecache
  • Nodewords (Metatags)
  • Open graph meta tags
  • Auto Assign Role
  • BUEditor
  • IMCE
  • JavaScript callback handler
  • Lightbox2
  • loginlogout
  • Poormanscron
  • Pathauto
  • Quick Tabs
  • Taxonomy Manager
  • Twitter Tweet Button
  • Google Analytics
  • Taxonomy Multi Editor
  • Taxonomy Menu
  • jQuery UI
  • Vertical Tabs
  • Views Accordion
  • Views Slideshow
  • XML sitemap
  • Slider

For a good search of modules I recommend you this website http://drupalmodules.com/, where you can see the user rating and the last version of them.

My users

  • People who know which product they want to get.
  • People who know which ingredient they want to get, but not which product.
  • People who do not know which ingredient or which product they want to get, but know why they want to get it.
  • People who do not know what is ‘natural soap’ or ‘natural cosmetics’ at all, but want to feel good and better after all.

Theming – never from scratch

As a themer, we love to create the cleanest and most efficient markup to get the very best CSS quality. In Drupal there are dozens of themes that are simple, clean and strictly valid for the W3C. You always can reuse them to save your time and to reduce the effort of creating a new theme.

If you’re using Drupal, never start your theme from scratch. You’re building a website based on a CMS which has a powerful theming engine and provides you quick starting templates. You should take advantage of the default CSS, even if you don’t like it, it’s always better to spend some time improving the mark-up rather than fixing all missed mark-up. Remember that the HTML generated by default by the core, is already included an the most of the themes supported by the Drupal community.

The theme used in Pompitas de Málaga is based on Aqua Prosper; one of the sub-themes provided with the Ubercart distribution which is built on top of Fusion.

Keep a good ‘meta’

Customizable meta tags for every page can be done with the meta tags module Nodewords. What is more, a pattern that retrieve a valid meta information directly from the content of your node it’s recommendable for a good semantic. Let Google understand your website. Try the module and see the great advantages for your website.

Related Product

To provide related products in the product page it’s a common pattern in a e-commerce. It’s a way to suggest to our customers different things that can be please them somehow.  

One way to relate products it’s by it’s category (that’s a wide concept, so be careful). Other way can be the “other customers” likes, you know “people who bought this, also bought…”.

However, in a physical world, we shouldn’t forget the intention of the expert suggestion. At Pompitas de Málaga, we’ve started this one in the initial stage of the website life in order to give some time while gathering information about other customer’s preferences.


Be transparent

What’s behind the honesty of an online store? Your customers are asking you for being transparent, clear, and make them feel confident…but how?

At Pompitas de Málaga, we’ve always tried to be as natural as possible, we speak directly with the customer, we introduced ourselves from the site – check out our spontaneous video 😉 – moreover, we’ve supported every product description with our own knowledge by using our own words.

Besides, we used our own stamp so the customer we can always trust that the product he’s buying has the garantee of our business.

Probably, there are many other ways to enhance the customer relationship, nevertheless we can never forget that the investiment on this is required.

Social Commerce

It is a must, your customers are everywhere, and your site should be a common place, a meeting point and a social point of sale.

Rules for marketing 2.0 say that you have to let your users sell your products by you, they will tell the story that you want to tell. Their likes, their opinions and comments, their shares and +1’s, and all that stuff that is just one-click away will beat the challenging communication message: if it’s good for them it will be good for other people.

They are not just customers who consume your products, but they’re being proud and showing off their feelings, which is even more important since it helps to build a strong relationship between them and your products and showing the way to new customers.

Drupal 6 or 7

After few days trying to set up a basic web site in Drupal 7 I have been able to check how many new features are in that release and how promising is the approach followed for future developments. 

However, it is not ready for production sites. It’s not a surprise, drupal develpers know it and they ask for help in bug reporting. So the best I can do for the online soap store Pompitas de Málaga is to conitnue with the previously installed version of Drupal, which is, by the way, full of challenges too.

… you can find Pompitas de Málaga at Facebook and Twitter.


[istartup] the beginning

Months ago, my couple and me started up a new business in Málaga called Pompitas de Málaga Jabonería, since for us it was the best choice to run far far away from the unemployment evil.

Nowadays, the natural soap store continues its activity online, while I’m still working in my current company. For us, it is being an exciting experience taking into account the big dificulties we have to deal in this days.

Months ago, I also started a blog called “istartup” which I’ll continue from here to share all the progress notes I gathered during the first stage of the project and go on with the activity, that it is not finished yet.

My apologies for those who already read and visited the previous blog, you’ll probably see many similar posts in the following days.

Thanks, enjoy!