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Project Politika Drupal Theme pt. 4: Discussing Design Style

In the recently completed Poll on the purpose of the Politika theme we have established that it will be an ecommerce theme!

This is exciting as well as challenging. E-commerce site really need a design that is focused on the content and focused on selling. Good Ubercart themes should also have some nice icons to skin the stock imagery.

I do not often build ecommerce sites but I do have experience in this and I also have a Msc in marketing (pending my thesis) so this project will be a nice combination of my web and uni educations.

Now it's time to discuss the style of this design. I want to build a theme that you all are dying to use on your next project so I would like to hear what kind of design styles are in demand in the community.

Luckily for us, a major webdesign blog has recently posted an overview of big ecommerce website designs where you can get inspiration:

Tell me what designs you like! Post comments and I will create another poll so that you can vote on the design style

Since this is an ecommerce site there is also one very important dimension on which we have to choose a position, which is the up-market versus down-market dimension. If you sell luxury products you will want an up-market design like for example If you sell cheap offers you will want to appear like you offer the best deals and approach a more down-market design style like for example this:

If you have built a beautiful ecommerce site with Drupal in the past, feel free to post that too!

The discussion will run until June 21st which is next monday; unless the discussion clearly needs some more time, then it will be extended.

Also take a look at the latest Sooper Drupal Themes, Synopsis and Syan. These design styles could also work well for a store.


Schedule for june

  1. June 7th (mon): Present and discuss project
  2. June 9th (wed): Discuss Theme purpose (type of website)
  3. June 14th (mon): Poll for theme purpose
  4. June 16th (wed): Discuss design style
  5. June 21th (mon): Poll for design style
  6. June 23th (wed): Discuss modules and features
  7. June 28th (mon): Questionnaire about modules and features
  8. June 30th (mon): Summary of poll and questionnaire results


i would love a base ecommerce theme (not focused on a niche) like amazon with many block regions and maybe color integration and some clean typography

It's a nice idea but it's not for this project. What you need is a tool like the Zen basetheme. Maybe it would be cool it Zen had a Ubercart fork or plugin.

Here the point is to make a great design, where the functionality and features are less important than the proper integration of a quality design with good marketing communication, usability and clarity.

where are the demos of the drupal themes?
i cant find the button

aah sorry I have accidentally removed them, Im designing new product pages.
The demos are here:

I could use something minimal. Minimal styling with an up-market look would work well for my projects.

Was just thinking about "up-market versus down-market" and I really feel we should aim somewhere in the middle which is where I see most Drupal based e-commerce sites sitting. I think the Synopsis theme gets the balance just right.

The other thing I like about the Synopsis theme is the impact it has when you first see it. Your eyes are instantly drawn to the top section which could contain special offers, as seen on most e-commerce sites.

I always find that visual separation of regions usually via white space and bold colors is really important with e-commerce sites because they contain some key areas that need to stand out. The most important is the shopping cart, it needs to be prominent so users can find it. So I'd like to see the design contain some bold colors that can be used in these sections.

Also the ability for vertical navigation as e-commerce sites often contain huge lists of categories displayed as the main navigation.

- Sean Bannister

About the up/down market thing, I agree that we should not aim for the extremes but somewhere near the middle. Though it cannot be generic, because then it will support neither types of marketing and benefit no-one.

Thanks for your feedback on Synopsis and your point about vertical navigation. I think vertical navigation is indeed important in shops and it should be a focus of the design.

Speaking about vertical nav, are people commonly using faceted search with Ubercart?

I also agree about a design needing focus. A design without focus and visual hierarchy cant really be called a design. With synopsis the visual hierarchy was based on the AIDA sales funnel concept (Attention Interest Desire Action) and I will see if this is also practical to use in a webshop design.

Faceted search is great, but I've always experienced issues when displaying it as vertical navigation. The problem is users don't understand it when its on the left or right side of the page, because traditionally filtering a pages content has been displayed at the top of the content. Might be something to keep in mind as faceted search is great for e-commerce sites.

Be great to hear if anyone has had similar experiences.

- Sean Bannister



For me both have high points in terms of simplicity and elegance. I'm well aware that content is still the heavy influencer of the over-all design, which is why I would go for minimal styles.

What I like with Vogue site is the delicious navigation bar and the typography. It might have been geared towards fashion, but I say it also represents modern e-commerce sites today.

-- Marcky

Is this still happening? I noticed there hasn't been any further blog posts.

Hi Sean, yes definitely!
Sorry for the delay. Due to a heatwave and pressure on my thesis to make progress I've been distracted from my website. I will pick up the slack tonight.

Thanks, I look forward to it.

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