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jollyfrog

I will help design a new thirty bees theme

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I am an experienced graphic designer and, if others will support, I will help design a new (free) theme for thirty bees.

I have recently been building and manipulating (Ghost) themes for clients, but a couple of weeks ago a client asked for help setting up an online shop.
While I like the general ethos behind the project, I can see that themes are limited.

The catch: I am not a PHP developer.

I can, however, help with the following:

  • Graphical Mock-ups
  • Vector logos, icons and illustrations
  • Animations CSS and SVG (SMIL)
  • HTML & CSS (I could build the pages static if someone was capable to help bring the theme to life).

Now, I understand that this means someone would have to collaborate with me on this to make this work with thirty bees, and given that I can see that the few developers who work on this project have little or no time to spare, I understand that this may not be possible.

Regardless, the offer is there.

 

Edited by jollyfrog
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I hope that new owners have a new default theme for 30b on the roadmap. By new I mean done from scratch, because any other way will be only face lifting without heavy lifting. By a new default theme I don't have in mind anything close to Panda or other commercial themes, not at all. But we need a new theme, based on 2021 design rules, with heavy focus on mobile version and so on.

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1 hour ago, cienislaw said:

I hope that new owners have a new default theme for 30b on the roadmap. By new I mean done from scratch, because any other way will be only face lifting without heavy lifting. By a new default theme I don't have in mind anything close to Panda or other commercial themes, not at all. But we need a new theme, based on 2021 design rules, with heavy focus on mobile version and so on.

Can only agree.. Some themes I've looked at look very old and outdated

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2 hours ago, cienislaw said:

I hope that new owners have a new default theme for 30b on the roadmap. By new I mean done from scratch, because any other way will be only face lifting without heavy lifting. By a new default theme I don't have in mind anything close to Panda or other commercial themes, not at all. But we need a new theme, based on 2021 design rules, with heavy focus on mobile version and so on.

Good, but in order to make this new theme that suits all your needs, you may give some examples of the design you are talking about, then after a vote we can decide what to work on for real.

Like I said I am willing to help for a new theme, if jollyfrog is IN, great and welcome to the jungle, i'll be around to help, even my free time is not a lot for now.

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Community Theme Default provides good base for starting (for mobile makeover) since it still uses all the defaults that are compatible with most of the modules.

It's not bloated so no need to work from scratch. What it needs is small structural changes and css adjustments for mobile.

I get 99/100 on insigths almost always (depends on server response mainly) and I don't have 1000 installed modules.

65-85% of shop orders are through mobile (% depends on month)

Edited by toplakd

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My thoughts, are to build from scratch but using the community theme for reference. 

(Although I am very much open to the general perspective of those with experience working on developing the platform and those who have been using it).

Why?

Efficiency
Personally, I find it is quicker and more straight forward to follow a single coding practise or style throughout a project than to patch old code and designs.

Technology
The community theme appears to be using old CSS standards for layout (still using floats). Building these layouts is a lot easier now that CSS has developed. I expect that I will be able to help create a theme which is of a high technical standard, which is very light.

CSS Grid, Flexbox, inline SVG, CSS animations, CSS & SVG sprites, srcsets, localised web fonts etc.

Freedom
The old theme doesn't need to be scrapped. Maybe it can be patched up, but a new theme should, in my opinion, help to support those who the current theme just doesn't serve (that isn't to say it isn't useful for reference).

Maybe a new theme could give the platform some (more) wind in its sails. I know that @datakick and others are putting in a lot of work behind the scenes, and I think that the front-end of the project needs some attention to motivate the community and to encourage other developers to support the team.

The new theme doesn't have to be twenty themes in one, but I see no reason why it shouldn't be designed to a commercial standard, while still being in the hands of the tb community. I haven't been on here for long, but I love open source, I enjoy contributing, and I don't stop until a job is done.

@cienislaw I agree with @zen, if those who are interested in a new theme vote on what features they want to see, this would be a good start. Something you love in another commercial theme?... anything is possible! So I would love to see what features you have in mind.

One thing to keep in mind

While the perspective of each individual in the community is important, for the theme to be competitive (so tb sites can compete with those built on other platforms) there must be a consistent, professional style throughout. Many ideas can be good ideas but some ideas conflict. Aiming to serve everyone will likely serve no one. So there should be a clear objective, mock-ups, approval from those who have been working on this project and a single-minded collaborative approach.

----

I am nobody, so no one has to listen to me. But when I come over for dinner, I like to wash up. I use open source software, and I feel I should contribute to say thank you to those who give their time to serve others (including me). At the end of it, if I have a new theme to use with my clients or for a personal project... Awesome!

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Just some ideas that I and lots of people have put before... ask if I can try to explain. I don't know which of these Datakick is working-on anyway.

1 page and 3 page checkout. Because there are two questions in the checkout that effect the rest of the form so maybe 1 page is hard to do for some merchants. Not 5-page, because it is more clicks-to-buy; it should not be an option. 

Customer account: easy to turn-off, and turned-off by default Because it is more clicks-to-buy for the customer

Customer info like gender, title, date of birth, 1st and 2nd phone... easy to turn-off, and turned off by default for same reason.

Categories: more information about products on them by default. Maybe sizes. Because Seobilty tells me that several belts in the same category look like duplicate content to a search engine; it would rather index the lot in one go. I have trouble describing each belt to make it look different to a search engine.

Attributes: styles should allow a block that is black when in stock and grey when out of stock for each size. Because some of my shoes are only available in one size and I don't want to tease the customers who are other sizes. The code would be a bit like the code for choosing size by radio button, maybe with some monospace font... I am not quite sure what I mean but push if you want me to become clearer. A block=size system to put on the category page would be good too if easy enough.

Imagemagik - maybe some message to say whether it is enabled on the server. Because it's hard to find the server setting or on some servers you have to ask or it is not available

Photos in odd shapes, with white margins round them: these should not have to be white. Because the same colour as the background is good, but it is hard to find the code to change. Some instructions for changing the theme would be enough. I don't understand the free imagemagik module which may have this built-in already.

Imageslider module: off by default because ugly and more to download on mobiles.

Installation buttons for "maximum modules" and "minimum modules" to would help users choose in-between. For mobile users, I suppose that minimum front-office modules could be best.

Breadcrumb and H1 heading combined. An odd option that ought to be good but isn't?
This is what I do on my site but not very well; I do not know how to tell search engines that the final breadcrumb should be H1, so I let the theme repeat it as H1, and anyway it has to be very short, so I don't really know what's best but it's an interesting idea I think.

Order workflow. This is one of the last things to sort, and I don't know the answers, but a single order ticket that is easy to edit-down and shows in the merchants' email as well as the customers' email would be good. 

Thanks for the idea of a new theme or mobile theme and the offer

Edited by veganline
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1 hour ago, veganline said:

Seobilty tells me that several belts in the same category look like duplicate content to a search engine; it would rather index the lot in one go. I have trouble describing each belt to make it look different to a search engine.

@veganline I assume you own veganline.com?

I also assume, correct me please if I am wrong, that you are concerned that your pages are not all indexing due to duplicate content.

The following search will show you a lot of what is being indexed by Google relating to belts:
site:veganline.com intitle:belt

To avoid domination of stronger domains, search engines tend to limit standard searches to 2/3 listings for any given domain. Thus, if someone were to search vegan belts UK, it is likely that only a couple of your pages will show up (probably those which demonstrate more favourable user behaviour, such as 'time on page' and 'lower bounce rate').

You do appear to have some duplicate pages (on first glance). For example .../made-in-poland & .../29/made-in-poland seem very similar.

I don't know if that is helpful. Apologies, if I misunderstood your comment.

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We need a modern look, ux design and shopping process/experience.

Community Theme Default is several years old. It has flaws, it isn't mobile friendly at all. Don't get me wrong guys, but another face lifting will get just a bit better theme, not a new perspective this project needs. I'm not saying that existing code can't be reused in some way, but for sure shouldn't be used as a base for a new template.

Also there is a need to change a way of expanding theme features. I know that no one is forcing you to use a lot of modules, but currently there is a module for every little thing, with a lot of duplicated data and so on. This, beside removal of useless modules from a theme, can be addressed in favor of using HTML Block, so module bloat will be minimalized.

I don't think that there is a need for mobile and desktop version - more space doesn't mean that you should bloat it with something and a good RWD designed theme will look good on both platforms.

Feature voting - I'm against it. Most of us merchants on this forum are not graphic or ux designers, and you can see it clearly by visiting our shops. Of course users can suggest something, but the final look and feel of theme should be decided by professionals.

There is also need of translations proofreading. Even the best theme shopping experience will be ruined with bad translation, and if the rest of them is as bad as Polish one... I understand how works community translation and I know that it's hard to get quality with multiple people translating something they don't even use. Proofreading will take time, but it will be worth it.

That's my five cents which should explain my point of view on this matter.

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On 2/5/2021 at 1:27 AM, jollyfrog said:

The catch: I am not a PHP developer.

Hey there, full stack (PHP - JS - HTML/CSS - DevOps) developer here.

I'd be happy to collaborate with you in order to build this new theme. I used PS for many years in the past, and was quietly waiting for the announcement about TB's future. Now that I'm (quite) reassured about it, I'm ready to spend some time on it, as I'll probably offer it to future clients as their e commerce platform.

I agree 100% with the fact that starting from scratch would be best: no "tweaks", "fixes" or "adjustments", but something clean from the ground up ; also I believe this would be a plus for TB's new era. And as we can "scope" then purge the un-used CSS, we could have a) theme styles that don't conflict with module's styles, and b) a good starting point for a nice PageSpeed/Lighthouse score, which matters in terms of SEO, thus in terms of income for merchants using TB.

Last year I've been working intensively with Tailwind CSS and I think this would be amazing to provide a Tailwind-based theme, as shop owners would need just a bit of help customizing tailwind.config.js to get a custom theme, without having to write a single line of HTML or custom CSS. But this is open to discussion of course!

The only condition for me to spend time on this, is that we pick a license that's really FOSS and we commit to making it 100% free. I wouldn't be against earning a few bucks, say by helping show owners to customize said theme, but the theme itself must be 100% free, no freemium BS.

I can give part of my free time (evenings/weekends) to this project ; I can also spend 2 more days per month if my company's name is mentioned (something like "Development sponsored by ...") but it's not mandatory.

@jollyfrog could you PM me so we decide where and when we could have a first chat about this?

People, how do you feel about a Tailwind CSS based theme?

8 hours ago, cienislaw said:

I don't think that there is a need for mobile and desktop version - more space doesn't mean that you should bloat it with something and a good RWD designed theme will look good on both platforms.

Agreed 100%. The mobile version should have the info we need, the desktop version should show it differently with more space, but that's it. It should be a RWD'ed theme

Cheers,

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just one question about using Tailwind CSS - what about compatibility with the rest of the Prestashop 1.6 world as it is Bootstrap v3 based?

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58 minutes ago, cienislaw said:

just one question about using Tailwind CSS - what about compatibility with the rest of the Prestashop 1.6 world as it is Bootstrap v3 based?

Good question.

Either we want to stay fully compatible with Bootstrap 3, which would be a lock-in to an outdated (and bloated) framework, with the advantage of keeping compatibility intact.

Or we work on something to mimic Bootstrap 3 styles, which would be a horrible amount of work.

Or we load it (BS 3) asynchronously, so it doesn't impact the page load time but still makes things compatible (while not looking the same at all than the rest of the frontend).

Or we ditch this compatibility and build styles for widely used PS 1.6 modules (and bundle them with the base theme maybe, so merchants don't have to copy CSS code and such).

Anyway sticking with Bootstrap v3 and making it the de-facto framework for a new theme wouldn't be compatible with building a new, modern, properly responsive website. Definitely worth discussing

Edited by superbiche

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2 hours ago, superbiche said:

I'd be happy to collaborate with you in order to build this new theme. I used PS for many years in the past, and was quietly waiting for the announcement about TB's future. Now that I'm (quite) reassured about it, I'm ready to spend some time on it, as I'll probably offer it to future clients as their e commerce platform.

Awesome!

2 hours ago, superbiche said:

how do you feel about a Tailwind CSS based theme?

I have some reservations, but definitely open to hear and understand the arguments for it.

2 hours ago, superbiche said:

The only condition for me to spend time on this, is that we pick a license that's really FOSS and we commit to making it 100% free. I wouldn't be against earning a few bucks, say by helping show owners to customize said theme, but the theme itself must be 100% free, no freemium BS.

I totally agree! The theme should be free (libre) and open source.

2 hours ago, superbiche said:

@jollyfrog could you PM me so we decide where and when we could have a first chat about this?

Will do!

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Hello, nice to hear the good news about a new theme!

When I start using TB a year ago I choose Niara because I thought it was the newer theme and, at least to me, is much cleaner and nicer. I had to change a lot of stuff, starting with mobile.

It would be nice  to have some configurations in the new theme, for example the width of the items for top menu (I suppose it will have one!)

Register forms have to be clean and simple. I agree with having an easy way of disabling some data as gender, birthday, etc.

It would be really nice to use free fonts and having them locally, I prefer to not call google if I can. Changing fonts would be nice too.

3 step checkout like (1) is really nice. I had to make some changes for niara, but I uploaded them as a .zip.

A nice contact button (whatsapp/telegram, or whatever) flying easy to clic. I made one that goes to whatsapp if it's on mobile and goes to contact form if it's not.

An more or less optimized rich content for search engines. I had to work a lot in order to make google read my products' information.

+1 to FOSS, of course :)

An easy way of changing colors. Custom CSS is OK, but not really easy for begginers.

(1) https://forum.thirtybees.com/topic/2673-3-page-checkout-sort-of-for-community-default-theme/

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I think you also should consider to make the theme heavy configurable like many of the paid successful themes like Transformer and Warehouse.

I know @zen started to make a module or something earlier. Maybe he can be a part of the collaboration.

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15 hours ago, Briljander said:

I think you also should consider to make the theme heavy configurable like many of the paid successful themes like Transformer and Warehouse.

I know @zen started to make a module or something earlier. Maybe he can be a part of the collaboration.

I guess there is a necessary balance we must find between configurability and simplicity (for the merchant). For example, Panda (created by the same developers as Transformer) is a highly configurable theme, However, most of the shops I have seen using it are poorly constructed.

Wix is also very adaptable, but it is mis-sold to business owners. In the ads they claim it is very easy to build a beautiful website. Yes, for a graphic designer! Also, contrary to popular opinion, beauty is overrated!

I have worked in digital marketing for around 13 years (I manage a small agency) and one of the most common issues I have to solve is business owner [personal] expression. That is, altering things that didn't need altering. A theme needs to be robust, competitively designed and useful enough to the merchants so that too much tampering isn't tempting.

UX is complex and simple in different ways. The layout and function of an e-commerce website should be as predictable as the layout of a brick and mortar shop. This leads to predictable sales conversions.

Of course, with that said, I believe there should be some flexibility, as not all shops function in the same way; and what is predictable to one market may not make sense to another. For example, digital assets vs physical products.

This theme doesn't need to compete with Panda or Transformer. This theme needs to compete with corporate sites in both search and sales. For the thirty bees merchants, these are the competition.

Edited by jollyfrog

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1 hour ago, jollyfrog said:

I guess there is a necessary balance we must find between configurability and simplicity (for the merchant). For example, Panda (created by the same developers as Transformer) is a highly configurable theme, However, most of the shops I have seen using it are poorly constructed.

...

This theme doesn't need to compete with Panda or Transformer. This theme needs to compete with corporate sites in both search and sales. For the thirty bees merchants, these are the competition.

Well said. IMO Commercial themes pack too much stuff and tempt users to use it all as on examples, which are there not to show you how to achieve good and simple look (not basic!), but present all theme features. This is a snake eating own tail situation, when with too much stuff and freedom you bloat the site with fancy stuff, which doesn't help sales at all and frustrates users.

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It's very nice of you to do this, guys. I'm really happy to see such collaboration.

The new theme is badly needed. However, this is not a priority of the core team right now, and it will probably never will. From my point of view, thirtybees core should deliver great set of tools for developers to work with. We should invest into the theme framework to allow more easier development, allow for theme settings and preferences, etc. But we should probably stay clear from theme developement itself.

There are many reasons why. There is a certain skillsets that theme developer should have, such as good UI and UX skills. Also, theme is very big piece of code that needs constant attention, follow UI trends, integrating new browser featers, etc. It is really a full-time job to have a moder theme.

I also believe that we should have only the very *basic* theme in the standard. Why? Ecommerce platform needs to be attractive for both merchants and developers. If we had the best theme for free, there would be less oportunities for theme developers to offer their solutions. And this is the way to hell.

Therefore, the core team task is to provide great assistance to third party developers. We will try to help whenever we can, tweak core to allow for new features that these guys needs to deliver amazing new themes (or modules).  

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts @datakick.

1 hour ago, datakick said:

We should invest into the theme framework to allow more easier development, allow for theme settings and preferences, etc. But we should probably stay clear from theme developement itself.

I think we agree on this, the goal is not to provider some "page builder" like in WordPress, but to make a good looking, modern, responsive theme which makes the best starting point for developers to customize it.

Still, having a well developed base theme would probably be good for TB. So maybe focus on the theme framework + base implementation so potential users don't feel like the base theme is outdated.

2 hours ago, datakick said:

Also, theme is very big piece of code that needs constant attention, follow UI trends, integrating new browser featers, etc. It is really a full-time job to have a moder theme.

It doesn't seem necessary to update the base theme too often. If we build something OK for 2021, this would already be a huge change compared to the current one 😉

In my mind, the goal isn't to build a "totally fancy for 2021 trends" theme ; it's more to create a sensible default with all best practices (accessibility, responsive, performance, frontend development toolkit...) but that can totally look "generic for 2021", if this seems like a good approach.

2 hours ago, datakick said:

Therefore, the core team task is to provide great assistance to third party developers. We will try to help whenever we can, tweak core to allow for new features that these guys needs to deliver amazing new themes (or modules).  

This is great to read! We know you're probably busy with the upcoming release, but don't hesitate to let us know if you can spend an hour or two after that. Your help would be very useful to get us started.

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