Why do we think Debut is the best fit when it comes to Shopify themes for organisations in the arts and cultural sector? A few reasons spring to mind.
Crucially, Shopify gives it major backing as their most accessible and compliant theme. They’ve invested and continue to invest in it and Debut comes close to passing accessibility standards out of the box, and its underlying code does a lot of the heavy lifting in creating an accessible experience. This means that limited additional work has to be put in with regards to meeting those all-important levels of accessibility.
So having a Shopify theme with good accessibility is good?
Absolutely. Accessibility is something we’ve been talking about for years, and the goalposts don’t move when it comes to Shopify themes.
Shopify themselves are ‘committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence’. This is why web accessibility and websites that support this are so important. To reinforce the point, helping every person that wants to visit and view your site to do so, is a must. The last thing you want is a poor experience for anybody, and accessibility standards help to ensure that an engaging and positive experience is delivered for all. And remember there’s legislation in place, that’s always being tightened, that you need to meet. You don’t want to find yourself the subject of a fine or lawsuit.
In the ecommerce space, meeting accessibility standards makes sense from a business perspective. This is because the potential spending power of those with disabilities and accessibility needs (as well as their connected families), is very high. Many companies and organisations miss out on the possibilities of ‘The Purple Pound’ due to poor web accessibility. Disabled customers who click away from inaccessible websites having an estimated spending power in excess of £17 billion annually.
The Debut theme supports good accessibility by design, but this is actually something that the merchant has to ensure comes to fruition. The merchant needs to ensure accessibility legislation is fully met in their own jurisdiction and the jurisdictions of their customers. In our opinion, Debut offers the best chance of achieving this.
Debut won’t ensure everybody can fully experience your site – that's your job. But Debut does make it easier to achieve this. You can find out more about Shopify themes and accessibility here. Ourselves, we’ve used Debut with a handful of clients already, including The Sir John Soane Museum, St. Alban’s Museum and NMC Recordings.
What about Apps?
We’ve worked with Shopify long enough now to know Apps can help take things to the next level easily and effectively, and we’ve used some really good ones of late. Care is always needed with Shopify Apps though. Not only can they mean further (ongoing costs) but they can create dependencies that need supporting over time - really important when it comes to maintaining accessibility standards.
In our recent work with NMC Recordings, which saw our team support the launch of their new Shopify ecommerce store, we utilised Searchly. This app brings in a search function, collection filter and a product filter to NMC’s online store. This makes it easier for users to find products and browse NMC’s extensive catalogue thanks to the extra functionality Searchly delivers. The app is optimised for mobile, supporting NMC’s user experience offering across devices. It’s one we know has helped take NMC Recordings’ new Shopify ecommerce store to a new level.
We also really like the Advanced Product Descriptions app for Shopify, which allows retailers to enhance the strength and quality of their product descriptions with tabs, accordions, switchers and more. This all means that on one level, more information about a product can be provided for a shopper during the buying process. But there are also significant SEO opportunities available, with retailers able to provide in-depth, keyword-rich content that can help them appear higher in search results.
One final app to add to this list is BookThatApp. Described as ‘the seamless Shopify booking calendar’, BookThatApp offers time-based entry, event bookings and calendar functionality – making it a great choice for arts and cultural organisations. Customers can make appointments, book classes, rentals, tours, event tickets and more directly via their Shopify site, alongside retail products. This removes the hassle of third-party event software and integration, keeping your customers exactly where you want them – on your site.
Un.titled and Shopify
We’ve loved getting our teeth into Shopify in our recent projects and exploring the various themes and apps that work best for organisations in the arts cultural and heritage industries.