Designing osCommerce, out of the box

Whenever I design an osCommerce site, I try to add in something that makes it look different to other osCommerce sites. 99% of osC sites have the standard

header
column, content, column
footer

layout. The next site you build, try doing something completely different. Here’s an idea;

1. remove both the left and right columns. These mostly hold useless infoboxes anyway – who the heck wants a “tell friend” box or a “write review” box? What this will do is make the content column 100% wide. So, the next step is to;

2. Increase the number of products shown in columns from 3 to (say) 6. You do this by amending each of the -modules- around about here; if ($col > 2) { – just change that to 5 or 6 or whatever suits you.

3. Then let’s move some of the infoboxes to the header area – languages, currencies would be good to move.

4. Create some new infoboxes to show some info, eg, a very tiny shopping cart that just says “You have 2 items in your cart, totalling $9.54” (for example).

5. Move the breadcrumb to above the header rather than below it. You could even remove it totally, to be honest the breadcrumb is barely used on any osCommerce site.

6. In the footer, place the following infoboxes side by side; information, whats new, shopping cart, specials and perhaps 1 or 2 more to suit yourself.

7. The only thing left is to place the categories box somewhere. If you have loads of top level categories, it really needs to stay as a box somewhere (perhaps the header area?). if you have only a few (let’s say 6), then it can go where the breadcrumb originally was, and it’ll look great.

8. Now all you need to do is make a logo and place it in the header area. And of course make some new colours in the stylesheet.

That’s about a days work, I’d say. Reckon you can do it? Why not try, and post back with a link to your new look site.

4 Replies to “Designing osCommerce, out of the box”

  1. Gary,

    Good post. I agree with all the comments, with one minor exception. The use of breadcrumbs really depends on the complexity (number of categories and products) of your website. If your osCommerce site only has a 1 or 2 levels of categories and limited products, I agree with you. Once you get into the more complex category structure, the breadcrumb is required.

    jeff

  2. Hi Gary,

    Great tips, for my new osC website I’m already doing most of the things you suggested in this post.
    I like my websites to look different than the standard osC shop layout.
    Did you receive my email, btw? I assume you’re very busy, so I just thought I’d drop you a note 🙂

  3. Hi Jeff – of course, with a very large store, more navigatin is always a benefit. Years back when I first started with osCommerce, we had some random people (basically passers by the office) and invited them in for a cuppa and a test of osCommerce. We watched them, and not one used the breadcrumb. But then out of the box, osc only has 3 main categories…

    Hi Chanel – could you email me agaibn, I’ve been away for a while and looked back through my emails and haven’t found anything. Thanks!

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