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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Using Old Templates On New Versions

    Quote Originally Posted by SPH View Post
    I think that Dgent and I are on the same page on one thing: that from the customer's viewpoint, looks are almost everything. Whether consciously or subconsciously.
    I don't have an issue with this concept.. However if the DIY shopowner and their learning curve/ability to create good looking templates is the CHIEF reason to go with a packaged template, then the template should AT LEAST use proper methodologies to create the template. The template certainly should not employ slash and burn coding methods to force the look by modifying code and removing core functions. Layout settings that are normally controlled in the admin are routinely removed from Template Montrosity templates.

    It certainly isn't the shopowners fault that Template Montrosity decided to say hard code in the add-to-cart buttons on the featured products page so now when the store is setup as a catalog store, the "Call for Price" buttons do not appear as they should. This isn't something the shopowner broke, it's something Template Montrosity broke because their templates use lazy coding practices so they can spin these templates up and out the door..
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  2. #42
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    Default Re: Using Old Templates On New Versions

    Quote Originally Posted by SPH View Post
    Also, many highly recommended templates can become "broken" if one uses IE and is in compatability view (or not in compatability view.) IE is the most popular browser, but one can never know what "view" the customer will be in.

    sph
    www.prommart.com
    If the template is coded for cross browser compatibility to begin with then this is a non-issue..
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  3. #43
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    Default Re: Using Old Templates On New Versions

    So, just what is it that makes TM templates stand out to me and many others? And is there an inherent issue with zencart, that one cannot make a truly "slick" template without messing with core function?

    Here are three random TM templates:

    http://www.templatemonster.com/demo/37091.html
    http://www.templatemonster.com/demo/37293.html
    http://www.templatemonster.com/demo/37805.html

    If we are in agreement that these look...different...than those of the recommended free and commercial offerings, here are some thoughts:

    RULE NUMBER ONE: YOUR ACTUAL SITE WILL PROBABLY NEVER LOOK AS GOOD AS THE DEMO.

    That's because they use professional, probably world-class graphics. Unless one hires the same, things will go down hill once one uploads their own graphics.

    RULE NUMBER TWO: THE BEST-LOOKING TEMPLATES DO NOT LOOK LIKE THEY ARE ZENCARTS.

    I could not tell by looks alone if these were Magento, Prestashop or some commercial offering. But they are our own zencarts!

    Those who stay closest to zencart standards, unfortunately imo, also retain too much of the standard zencart "look". Category page openings and various dressings, product page layouts, just look to me a little dated and tired. It finally hit me that this is possibly the major difference.

    RULE THREE: YOU PROBABLY CANNOT MAKE A TEMPLATE LIKE THESE YOURSELF.

    Looking at these templates, even I have the brief delusion that I could...ape...one. Maybe not with the graphics, but general look. But probably not, in the end. So I get a free template offering, maybe some appearance mods, and look mostly like a free zencart template with appearance mods.

    If these TM templates are THAT easy to make, why are not all of the "standard zencart designers" making offerings closer to these? Are they that difficult to make...and remain within zencart standards?

    sph
    www.prommart.com
    Cherry Zen with no real appearance mods.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Using Old Templates On New Versions

    But slick TM templates are not perfect:

    The first one lacks login information at the top. Common for TM, as with my sister's template. But probably solvable with an ezpage header link. I like login info at the top. Otherwise, a nice template and drop down menu.

    The third one lacks a search box.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Using Old Templates On New Versions

    Quote Originally Posted by SPH View Post
    So, just what is it that makes TM templates stand out to me and many others? And is there an inherent issue with zencart, that one cannot make a truly "slick" template without messing with core function?

    Here are three random TM templates:

    http://www.templatemonster.com/demo/37091.html
    Just a look at the code used for the first page. That should scare you off but, sorry to say that most won't understand the problems caused.


    <!--[if IE 6]> <!-- ACDN-RJS --><script type="text/javascript" src="http://j.tmimgcdn.com/dd_belatedPNG.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> DD_belatedPNG.fix('img'); </script> <![endif]-->

    It might not break it for the customer, but what will it do to the SE?
    Did you read the posting tips?!?

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Using Old Templates On New Versions

    Quote Originally Posted by SPH View Post
    So, just what is it that makes TM templates stand out to me and many others? And is there an inherent issue with zencart, that one cannot make a truly "slick" template without messing with core function?
    Quote Originally Posted by SPH View Post
    If these TM templates are THAT easy to make, why are not all of the "standard zencart designers" making offerings closer to these? Are they that difficult to make...and remain within zencart standards?
    The short answer is that making a template like this WITHOUT chopping out core Zen Cart code is totally possible, but it requires ADVANCED skills.. no one is disputing that.. However, what Template Monstrosity does is routinely STRIP out code in favor of simply writing up a decent install doc to tell you which admin settings are required to make their templates look like the demos.. It's LAZY coding.. there's no reason for them to remove HALF the core code that they do except it's probably EASIER and FASTER to do slash out core code in order to churn out a template than to write up a decent install doc.. So they do things like for example strip out the featured product centerbox code instead of providing an instruction to turn this off.

    ALL of their templates are completely doable, and they can be done WITHOUT stripping out core code to do it.. Template Monstrosity simply chooses the cheap, easy way out.. No one is opposed to a good looking site.. But I think that those of us who take issue with Template Monstrosity do so because we KNOW that they are cheaply and improperly assembled, and we all know that there is NO REASON for them to be this way..
    Last edited by DivaVocals; 27 Apr 2012 at 06:53 AM.
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  7. #47
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    Default Re: Using Old Templates On New Versions

    dbltoe, good catch on the code. I didn't look further than to confirm that they were, in fact, zencarts. I'm certain the templates would work on the customer end and also allow the owner to receive orders. But the search engine issue is a valid concern. In the case of that template, if I had it, I'd forget about IE6 and remove (or try to remove) such code. But I understand that this may be only one of several concerns.

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Using Old Templates On New Versions

    Diva,

    Thanks. You confirm a suspicion I've had for awhile. That there is some difficulty making zencart templates like those, while remaining within zencart standards. Doable, but not necessarily easy.

    But it still doesn't really explain why standard zencart designers are not offering templates similar to these. Is it because the extra work required would price the template out of reach for most? Or is it a reverse kind of lazy, easier to put a little make-up on the Classic template? (I truly mean no insult or offense to our template designers...or the zencart team.)

    I also want to retract, or clarify, someting re my sister's TM template. I cannot recall if I installed the Column Layout Grid on that and I know that she never used it. So I cannot confirm that that mod works with her TM template. But in that case, and since every TM template I've run across, uses category rows, if one really likes the template they should be prepared to use rows.

    Now, here's another thought I had this evening:

    RULE NUMBER FOUR: SOME OF THESE TEMPLATES LOOK TOO GOOD TO BE ECOMMERCE SITES.

    All of the templates earlier, to me, look like high-end, upscale sites with relatively few products. Not some "Bargain Bin" operation with tons of products, which probably would look and work better on a free or standard commercial template. Although I just now found an exception with this auto parts template:

    http://www.templatemonster.com/demo/37295.html

    But common! Can't we take almost any free template, turn it mostly white, operate some admin controls, and make a similar looking site? I feel that I almost could. (Almost is the key word.)

    Or this Wedding Store template, very close to my business:

    http://livedemo00.template-help.com/zencart_37595

    I feel strongly that I could somewhat copy this look with a free template, some admin controls and some css color tweaks.

    This all white template does apply one of Schoolboy's points: let the products stand out. For surely they do on the homepage. But I notice that on this and some other TM offerings, the actual product page image is rather small. It has alot of white color, white space, a wide left column, but smallish photo. Perhaps it's true: all it takes is a free template, a little css skill and good graphics. So why isn't everyone doing that?

    Looking at these last two and my basic zencart skills, I wonder to myself, "why not?"

    sph
    www.prommart.com
    Last edited by SPH; 27 Apr 2012 at 08:22 AM.

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Using Old Templates On New Versions

    The real problem is that they don't take the time to learn the lay of the land and play nice with ZC. Copious use of span calls, empty class calls, etc. is an automatic triple estimate when asked to make them work.
    Did you read the posting tips?!?

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Using Old Templates On New Versions

    Any design must factor in the USER EXPERIENCE and USER BEHAVIOUR.

    Back in 2006, Jakob Nielsen researched the WAY people habitually look at websites, and the research is as valid today as it was 6 years ago - probably moreso.

    http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html

    We call this the "supermarket" principle - making people feel "comfortable" when they are at your site. In the real world, large supermarket chains (indeed any large retailer) follows very detailed layout plans in the store. When shoppers visit one branch, they are made to feel comfortable because the layout of the store is familiar to them. It does not matter which branch of the store they visit - all have the same fundamental layout.

    This subliminal "feeling comfortable" is critical to the retail experience. People will enter a store and instinctively know where to go to find what they want - it does not matter if they are in a store in New York or Los Angeles... the store plan is very similar - if not identical.

    Looking at Nielsen's research we see a similar subliminal condition for websites. So, in reality, the more "conventional" the layout of the website, the more "comfortable" the shopper feels. Customers who are then encouraged to follow conventional behaviour patterns will have a more satisfying shopping experience and will be MORE LIKELY to buy stuff

    MOST zencart templates are designed with this in mind. They follow the F-PATTERN identified by Nielsen. This is a GOOD THING !

    Webshop owners who depart from this behavioural principle RISK LOSING CUSTOMERS.

    ALL major online retailers follow the Nielsen structure. And for good reason. It has proved to be commercially advantageous.

    Novice webshop owners are often seduced by radical graphics. They think that by being DIFFERENT, they will IMPRESS customers. In many cases, the opposite is true. People who arrive at a website and who are faced with radically different navigation layouts, and different site behaviour will start to feel uncomfortable. They will EXPECT certain website behaviours, and when they don't get that behaviour, they get frustrated. Many will simply abandon the site.

    If the objective of an online shop is to SELL PRODUCTS, then the best results will be achieved when a site follows conventions that the visitor expects. This may look "boring" to the amateur store owner, but it can (and does) have a critical impact on sales.

    Our most successful site to date (made over $2 million in its first 2 years, before the business was sold for a good profit) was little more than a re-coloured CLASSIC zencart template, which took about three hours to construct.

    Far more important than unique layout and fancy logos, is making the site fit the USER EXPERIENCE and USER EXPECTATIONS. Following this principle is key to a site's eventual success.

 

 
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