Integrating e-commerce into a beautiful portfolio website could be a daunting task for many, but Nick and Grant from The Future Forward pulled it off nicely while still maintaining the integrity of the artist's work.
Hello! Who are you? What’s your company? How’d you get started in web development or with your business?
Hello! I’m Nick Hoag, one-half of The Future Forward - a design and development studio in Burlington, Vermont. My background is in web design and development, while my business partner Grant Stewart has worked in the graphic design field for many years.
After meeting around 5 years ago, we worked on a personal project together for our church - dwellchurch.com. Grant took on everything from naming the church, all the way to identity and web design. I took on everything media-related, including website development, SEO, podcasting, etc.
The project was a success on many levels, and Grant and I began to realize that we could accomplish great things together. We both had witnessed something very unfortunate occur in our industry far too often - designers and developers struggling to work together. We also worked for firms that were either heavy on design and “threw in” development here and there, or vice versa.
We wanted to write a different story, one where both design and development worked hand-in-hand, performed under one roof at an equally high level. Out of that desire, The Future Forward was born.
Since starting the company we have worked with a variety of clients - from a boutique jewelry company in LA, to one of the largest providers of carbon offsets in the country. We love working on a personal level, truly getting to know the individual or company that we are working with. And no matter the client or project, we have one primary goal: to build lasting relationships with individuals and businesses that share a similar vision, passion, and excitement.
Could you describe this project? What was the goal? What was the vision?
Projects often start with lengthy design briefs, lots of bullet points, and a little marketing jargon thrown in for extra flavor. Our relationship with WORKSTEAD began with a question… "Do you get it?" What followed was an ongoing dialog about our shared design philosophy and sensibilities.
WORKSTEAD was looking for a portfolio site to show their body of work, with added e-commerce functionality, without feeling like a typical online store. We built the site on MODX+FoxyCart, and utilized a heavy dose of jQuery and jQuery UI to accomplish the unique functionality we were going for.
In the end, they needed something different. They needed a site that truly reflected their approach to design. We developed a site that, like their work, was strong and rich, yet simple and efficient. We gave them a square, and allowed all the work to flow out from there.
What were your roles and responsibilities in this project?
Our role was to come up with multiple unique designs for the website. We ended up with five, which made narrowing things down an excitingly difficult challenge for the client. From there, we took on full development responsibilities including all CMS and E-commerce needs.
How’d you find FoxyCart, and what need or problem drove you to choose FoxyCart over other options?
Having used FoxyCart in the past, I knew it would integrate perfectly with the CMS solution we had chosen - namely, MODX. The site needed to be easy to manage, with multiple areas that included e-commerce functionality - the product portfolio, and the more traditional “shop” area. I laid out the overall structure of things in MODX, so the client would only need to add a product / images once, and it would then appear in both areas of the site. From there, integrating FoxyCart was an absolute breeze, taking what appears to be a portfolio site, and giving it full-fledged e-commerce functionality. FoxyCart’s inherent flexibility made this site possible.
How was FoxyCart able to meet the need or problem?
In every way! It allowed me to develop the site my way, and then easily include e-commerce functionality as needed across the site.
What was your experience with using FoxyCart?
Seamless, and quite honestly, fun! Seeing a site like this come to life in a really unique way, enabled by the power of FoxyCart, was a truly enjoyable experience and one that I look forward to continuing in the future.
What surprised you about working with FoxyCart?
For me, the biggest surprise has been just how well FoxyCart integrates with other third party solutions via the API.
What would you say to other Developers/Designers/Merchants who are looking for an ecommerce solution?
Merchants: First of all, ask the tough questions - what do we really need our ecommerce solution to accomplish? Chances are you don’t need a lot of the things you’ve grown accustomed to, and there are better ways to do it. Now, let FoxyCart be everything you need your ecommerce solution to be, and let other needs be handled by the best solution possible.
Designers/Developers: If you are in need of an e-commerce platform that allows you to do what you do best (ie design and develop brilliant sites) but don’t feel like re-inventing the e-commerce wheel, just use FoxyCart. It will make your life easier. Plain and simple.