32 search results for “Keir Whitaker”

The Essential List of Resources for Shopify Theme Development

The Essential List of Resources for Shopify Theme Development

Shopify Theme Development Resources and Tutorials

Whether you are starting out with Shopify Themes or are a seasoned Shopify Expert, there are always new and useful things to learn that will help with your everyday theme development. But with so much content at your fingertips, one of the problems is knowing where to start. 

With that in mind, we have created a comprehensive list of resources to help you master your theme development. In this article, you will learn:

  • Where to find online courses on Shopify Theme development
  • Resources on all things Liquid
  • Tips and tricks for optimizing theme performance
  • And more

Continue reading

The Power of Alternate Layout Files in Shopify Theme Development

The Power of Alternate Layout Files in Shopify Theme Development

Shopify Theme Development Tutorial: Alternate LayoutsThis is the second article in a series of advanced Liquid tutorials for designers and theme development. My previous post focused on how to create and use alternate templates when creating Shopify themes, however today I would like to turn our attention to Liquid “layout” files.

If you aren’t familiar with layouts you’ll find the default file, theme.liquid, in the “layouts” folder within your theme directory. If you’ve never seen one before you might be wondering what’s going on!

The theme.liquid file can be thought of as the master template for your store. Effectively it’s a wrapper for all our other templates found in the templates folder. As a general rule, elements that are repeated in a theme (ex: site navigations, header, footer, etc.) will be often be placed inside theme.liquid.

It’s entirely up to the theme designer to decide how much, or little, code is included in a layout file. For example, I often prefer to have certain elements of a layout file included as a snippet as this allows me to re-use them in alternate layout files — a topic we’ll cover shortly.

Just remember that all rendered pages in a Shopify theme, unless stated, will be based on the default theme.liquid layout file.

You might also like: How to Use Alternate Templates in Shopify Theme Development

The benefits of layout files

One of the main benefits of layouts is that they enable us to follow the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle. By having all our common elements in a single file, it allows us to make global changes very easily. Another benefit is that our templates (product.liquid, collection.liquid etc) aren’t cluttered with markup that is repeated across the store.

Creating a layout file

Regardless of how much HTML you include in a layout file, there are two important Liquid tags that you must include in a Shopify layout file:

  1. {{ content_for_header }} must be placed between the opening and closing <head> tag. This inserts the necessary Shopify scripts into the <head> which includes scripts for Google Analytics, Shopify analytics, for Shopify apps, and more.
  2. {{ content_for_layout }} must be placed between the opening and closing <body> tag. This outputs dynamic content generated by all of the other templates (index.liquid, product.liquid, etc.).

theme.liquid, along with it’s two required placeholders tags, are required in order for Shopify to validate a theme.

Alternate layouts

One layout file isn’t going to cover every eventuality and there will be situations where you will require a completely different layout. You could start hiding elements with CSS but that feels a little wrong - the far better approach is to create an alternate layout complete with different HTML markup.

A good example of this might be a specific landing page for a product or perhaps a newsletter sign up page that doesn’t require the same “site furniture” as the rest of the site. In these situations, it’s possible to designate that the micro render with an “alternative” layout file.

Creating an alternative layout is very straightforward. The first thing to do is create a new file and give it a relevant name and the .liquid extension. Next save it in the layouts folder in your theme directory. In this file place any HTML you need (i.e. HTML declarations, CSS, JS links etc) along with the two placeholders discussed above.

In order to use this layout file, and effectively override the default theme.liquid layout file, we use the following Liquid syntax as the first line in any of a template file (index.liquid, product.liquid, etc.):

{% layout 'alternative' %}

In this instance, the default theme.liquid will be not be applied but rather the layout called alternative.liquid.

It’s also possible to request that the layout file isn't applied. The syntax to request that a layout file isn't applied is:

{% layout none %}

This needs to be the first line at the top of the relevant template (index.liquid, product.liquid, etc.). A use case for this might be when rendering output from your store in an alternative syntax such as JSON.

Using snippets to be even more DRY

If I know that a theme will be using multiple layouts I often remove code out of the layout file and into a snippet. This means that I can reuse code across multiple layouts. For example, I often have the following structure:

  • snippets/html-header.liquid - Contains all the essential head items right up to the opening body tag
  • snippets/html-footer.liquid - Contains any relevant script tags and the closing body tag
  • snippets/header.liquid - The main header that is used across the majority of the site
  • snippets/footer.liquid - The main footer that is used across the majority of the site

In order to use these are base layout file would look as follows:

{% include html-header %}
{% include header %}
{% include footer %}
{% include html-footer %}

The benefit of this approach is that when you come to create an alternate layout file you don’t need to recreate all your HTML header and footer content meaning you can update it all from two files. If you are only using one or two layouts it’s perhaps overkill.

Start using alternate layouts in your Shopify theme development workflow

Alternate layout files can come in extremely handy when you require radically different markup for a particular page or set of pages. Coupled together with the use of alternate templates it’s a powerful tool in your theme building toolbox and literally gives you endless possibilities to customise the look and feel of a store.

You might also like: How to Optimize Themes for Performance

Continue reading

Top 13 Web Design Conferences You Should Attend in 2016

Top 13 Web Design Conferences You Should Attend in 2016

Web design conferences for 2016Over the last few years, the web design and development conference calendar has become increasingly congested. From events focusing on a broad range of web design topics right through to those that cater to a particular CMS, there’s plenty of choice — perhaps too much choice.

Choosing a conference that’s right for you, and your budget, isn’t easy. Not only is there the financial cost to consider, but also the time away from the office and client work. It’s important to make the right choice.

However, the benefits of stepping out of your usual routine and hearing from industry experts can often be the perfect tonic to help reinvigorate your work and a great way to keep up to date with industry developments. Plus, adding the human element to our digital world by meeting, and talking, with people IRL should not be underestimated.

This year also marks the first ever Shopify partner and developer conference, which takes place on March 22-23rd in San Francisco. Unite’s lining up to be a fantastic two days and one not to miss if you work with Shopify or want to start.

Convinced? If so, the next step is to pick a conference that works for you. Over the last few years, I have been lucky enough to attend a number of great web design and creativity focused events. Here are a few of my top picks for you to consider in 2016.

Reasons to be Creative

Web design conferences for 2016: Reasons to be creativeReasons, as it’s popularly known, happens twice a year in the UK. February sees a short one day single-track event taking place in the wonderful L.S.O. at St Luke's concert hall in London. The festivities then transfer to a full three day multi-track affair at Brighton’s Dome theatre.

I’ve been a regular attendee for a number of years and it’s certainly a highlight for any conference goer. With a healthy mix of technology, design, animation, products, and more, Reasons always leaves me inspired to get back to work. Arrive a day early for the Brighton event and enjoy the late summer sun (hopefully) whilst wandering around the Lanes.

  • London, UK — February, 19 2016
  • Brighton, UK — September 5-7, 2016

Smashing Conference

Web design conferences for 2016: Beyond Tellerrand

Smashing Conf has grown from an annual event in Freiburg, Germany to a series of events taking place across Europe and America. The conference is spread over three days — one day of workshops and two days of single track talks focusing on practical takeaways with real world examples.

  • Oxford, UK — March 15–16, 2016
  • San Francisco, USA — April 5–6, 2016
  • New York — June 14–15, 2016

Shopify Unite

Web design conferences for 2016: Shopify Unite2016 also marks Shopify's inaugural partner and developer conference: Unite. Unite will be an exploration of the future of commerce and the next steps for the Shopify platform. It'll be a great opportunity to connect with other designers, developers, and partners working in the ecommerce design from all over the globe.

You’ll also have the chance to meet the team behind Shopify and learn about upcoming developments. With a mix of keynotes from Shopify leaders and in-depth technical workshops, it’s set to be a fun, and informative, two-day event.

  • San Francisco, CS USA — March 22-23, 2016

Creative South

Unusually, Creative South starts on a Thursday and ends on a Saturday evening. Their programming focuses on process and experience with the overall goal of connecting attendees with others from the industry. There’s also a large dose of Southern hospitality thrown in with plenty of social activities and food lined up during the event.

The 2016 lineup is already announced and includes Aaron Draplin and Anton and Irene. With a motto of “Hug necks! Come as friends and leave as family” good times are guaranteed. This one is definitely on my hit list for 2016.

  • Columbus GA, USA — April 7-9, 2016

Converge SE

Web designer conferences for 2016: Converge SEConverge SE bills itself as the conference for those who want to build a beautiful web. Taking place in Columbia, SC, it features a mix of topics including design/UX, front-end engineering, Ruby on Rails, DevOps, JavaScript, animation, responsive development, JavaScript, leadership, management, strategy, sales, and marketing.

Speakers are a mix of well-known industry leaders and emerging talents. If you are interested in speaking, you can submit your own idea.

  • Columbia, SC USA — April 13-15, 2016


Web design conferences for 2016: Generate

Launched in 2013 Generate has grown from a London based event into a global series of conferences. This year sees it returning to both London and New York with rumours of further cities to be announced soon.

Run and curated by the team behind Net magazine and Creative Bloq Generate is a source of inspiration, practical advice and networking opportunities.

You can watch the entire New York 2015 conference on YouTube — it’s a great way to get an idea of what to expect.

  • New York, USA — April 22, 2016
  • London, UK — TBC


Squares focuses on design, UX, front-end, development, business, and products. Featuring a day of workshops and a day of single track talks, it’s an opportunity to learn from world-changing leaders, designers, and innovators in both the non-profit and tech community.

Our very own Levin Mejia will be running a 3.5-hour workshop on building Shopify themes at this years Squares.

  • Grapevine, TX USA — April 27-29, 2016

    Beyond Tellerrand

    Web design conferences for 2016: Beyond Tellerrand

    If you fancy a trip into the heart of Europe then I strongly recommend you pick one of the two (or both) Beyond Tellerrand events taking place in May and November.

    Now in it’s sixth year, Tellerrand continues to impress — thanks largely to the enthusiasm and passion of it’s sole organiser Marc Thiele. Describing itself as an event about web design and development, there’s plenty for everyone at this single track two-day conference. With established speakers from all parts of the globe as well as new and emerging talent taking to the stage, you’ll not be disappointed.

    Finally don’t skip the evening sessions as they are a great highlight. And don’t worry if your school German isn’t up to par as all sessions are conducted in English.

    • Düsseldorf, Germany — May 9-11, 2016
    • Berlin, Germany — November 7-9, 2016


    If content is your focus then Confab should be high on your list of go-to conferences for 2016. Now in it’s sixth year, their main “Confab Central” event attracts 650 content strategy enthusiasts from around the world. With a broad range of speakers and topics there’s plenty to learn.

    • Minneapolis, MN USA — May 18-20, 2016
    • Seattle, WA USA — September 19-21, 2016

    Web Design Day

    Web Design Day began in 2009 with the aim of bringing the best of web design to Pittsburgh in a fun, intimate, and affordable conference. It’s organized by G. Jason & Val Head and attracts attendees from across the globe. With a great mix of talks and social activities, it's not surprising attendees come back year after year.

    Last year’s speakers included Denise Jacobs, Ethan Marcotte, Aaron Gustafson, and Lyza Danger Gardner. While this year’s lineup is still under wraps, you can bet that it will undoubtedly be great.

    • Pittsburgh, PA USA — June 22-23, 2016

      Canvas Conf

      I headed up to Birmingham last year for my first Canvas Conf and was not disappointed. 2015 was the fourth outing for the event and its popularity showed with a packed audience. It’s not a web design or development conference, but web technology, and its effects were on show throughout.

      Canvas gathers a cross-discipline audience of engineers, designers, and UX professionals into 10 sessions over a single day. 2015 saw speakers from Medium, Easy, Graze, Birchbox, and NASA. If Canvas is a conference you're considering, then take the time to watch all the sessions from last year's event for free before you make a decision.

      • Birmingham, UK — TBC

      Here: London

      Web design conferences for 2016: Here London

      Here is curated by the team behind the popular website It’s Nice That and is an annual symposium featuring some of the world’s best creative talent — from the biggest names to the most cutting-edge practitioners. While Here is not entirely dedicated to web design, it’s nice to step outside of the web sphere and see what’s happening in other, often related, industries.

      I attended the 2015 conference and learnt about branding, animation, tv commercial design, and much more. On a side note, it had one of the best goody bags of the year!

      • London, UK — TBC

      Did we miss any must-attend web design conferences? Share your favourite in the comments below.

      Photo credits: All photos by Marc Thiele except Beyond Tellerrand which was taken by Nils Wittler

      Continue reading

      How to Craft the Best 404 Pages for your Clients

      How to Craft the Best 404 Pages for your Clients

      best 404 pages

      Whether by user-error or broken links, it’s inevitable that visitors to a client’s store will occasionally land on a 404 error page. These pages can be an opportunity to provide support with an on-brand message, and some of the best 404 pages combine humour with good UX to create memorable experiences.

      Website developers should be mindful of this when creating custom themes for clients, and including user-friendly, appropriate, and well designed 404 error pages is important for reducing customer effort.

      In this article, you’ll learn:

      • Why a well-designed 404 page is essential for websites.
      • How to create an alternative layout file for a 404 page template.
      • How to add search bars and call-to-action buttons to 404 error pages.

      Continue reading

      Mike Kus Talks Design Process

      Mike Kus Talks Design Process


      If you’ve seen us at any conferences lately or follow us on Twitter, you’ve likely seen our beautifully designed t-shirt reading, “Design is at the heart of everything we do.”

      This has become the motto of the Shopify Partner Program, and we teamed up with Mike Kus to design an exclusive t-shirt depicting these words.

      Perhaps you’ve seen the video that Mike Kus put together documenting his design process. If not, it’s definitely worth taking a look:

      Continue reading

      15 Unmissable Web Design Podcasts

      15 Unmissable Web Design Podcasts


      If you go looking for web design podcasts the big, established (and excellent) ones that you’re likely to run into are Shoptalk, Boagworld and The Big Web Show. These are not to be missed, but there are plenty more out there covering every aspect of designing for the web, running a business, dealing with clients, ecommerce, and much more.

      To uncover the best podcasts out there, we asked a dozen top web designers and developers to tell us what they’re listening to.

      Continue reading

      Grow your business with the Shopify Partner Program

      Learn more