There is no doubt that the academic community is now fully entrenched within the digital world. Whether referring to distance learning or downloadable e-books, this presence can be felt nearly everywhere. However, not all online hosting environments are created equally. A growing number of websites directly related to education (and particularly those which host journals or academic papers) are choosing to outsource their services to large e-commerce providers such as Shopify. This is a result of their user-friendly nature as well as the number of templates to choose from. However, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to choose the best Shopify themes. This is why it is a good idea to take a look at a few guidelines as well as why legacy architecture might no longer suited for growing academic websites.
The Downsides of Outdated Hosting Architecture
In this sense, we are not necessarily referring to web hosting services such as WordPress. We are instead focusing upon the type of user interface (UI) that visitors will encounter. One of the main issues with outdated systems is that they can appear confusing to the end user. It could be difficult to navigate to specific pages or to pull up a certain journal entry. This issue will only be magnified in the event that the website in question is home to a massive amount of digital material.
The second potential pitfall involves a lack of compatibility with mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Otherwise known as mobile-responsive designs, some older systems might not be able to accommodate for such a paradigm shift. As a result, pages will display incorrectly and some information could be inaccessible altogether. This has been one of the main driving forces behind more malleable e-commerce platforms.
A final issue involves the branding and visual identity of the website. In theory, all pages should display the same and be associated with a similar theme. This serves two main purposes. From a purely functional point of view, visitors will be able to find what they are looking for within a relatively short period of time. Aesthetics play an additional role. Websites which offer seamless and intuitive transitions between different pages are likely to be visited on a more frequent basis. This results in a greater number of inbound hits and naturally, higher rankings within a search engine results page (SERP).
Now that we can understand why outdated hosting platforms should be modernized, are there any ways that website owners and engineers can choose the most appropriate themes? Let us take a look at a handful of guidelines that are bound to come in handy along the way.
How to Choose the Most Appropriate Shopify Themes
Familiarity is generally the first concern that should be addressed. In this respect, we are referring to a template layout that is clear and designed in a conventional way. Menus located on the left-hand side of the main dashboard, drop-down options along the top and contact details found within the footer are three examples of this type of style. The main intention is to enable visitors to find what they are looking for within a matter of seconds. They could otherwise navigate to the website of a competitor if it offers a clearer interface.
The subject of embedded images and media is actually rather tricky when referring to academic resources. As the material tends to be more associated with journals and publications, the amount of visual content may be a bit sparse. However, it is always good idea to allow users to preview a specific number of pages. Many websites which host journals will also provide an ability to display the cover pages of a specific magazine or publication. This method can be excellent for browsing purposes.
All templates should exhibit a style that allows users to quickly find specific pages; particularly those involved with purchases and checkout processes. Once again, the actual e-commerce portions of the site should offer up the same user-friendly appeal that the other pages are known for.
One of the many reasons why a growing number of websites are choosing to work with Shopify themes is that there are a host of different options to choose from. The drag-and-drop functionality of these templates is also great in the event that a firm does not possess an advanced in-house IT team. Even novices can modify pages and implement changes when the time is right. Furthermore, Shopify offers a number of unique pricing plans based partially upon the information contained within. This has not always been the case with other e-commerce platforms such as Magento.
Choosing the correct Shopify theme does not have to represent a difficult process. Please keep in mind the information mentioned above in order to increase the appeal of your academic website.