Gemini Lights is a high performance cycling light manufacturer. We design and build a range of bicycle lights to suit commuters, mountain bike buffs, and high-speed racers. In beautiful Victoria of British Columbia, Canada, where mountain bike trails are abundant and striking, the desire to ride on despite dark and wet winters is paramount and shared by many riders. Gemini Lights was founded by a fellow mountain biking enthusiast, who was inspired by his need for a high performing, quality bike light whilst riding. Our team’s approach to designing lights became an obsession with quality, functionality, and perfection. We are committed to building powerful lights that speak for themselves, without the premium price tag.
Drupal was the preferred CMS of choice for a number of reasons:
- Extendable Functionality — Drupal employs a modular approach to adding functionality, and provides thousands of free, popular modules to choose from.
- Extensive Support through Drupal Community — We are able to rapidly find answers on Drupal forums, blogs, IRC channels, and even hire a Drupal developer who could pick up and revise our project with familiarity and ease.
- Open-Source Security — The active Drupal Community participates in inspecting the source code and contributes to bug fixes. When a fix is made, an automatic notification is sent to remind you to update to the latest version.
- It’s Free — For a company that is just beginning, one of the greatest benefits is that Drupal is free and comes loaded with valuable tools.
To sum up, we are able to build a customized site and mold it to exactly fit our aesthetic and needs. Drupal provides us with easy-to-use functionality, expandability with well thought out tools, and deep-rooted community-based technical support; all of which are free. With such a powerful system and network, Drupal was the obvious choice for building our website. We initially built on Drupal 6 + Ubercart 2, then updated to Drupal 7 + Ubercart 3.
Aesthetic, User-Intuitive Front-End
We wanted the Gemini Lights website to intrinsically resemble our products by capturing aspects of beauty, functionality and technical ease in its online presentation. As a catalogue website with integrated e-commerce, it needed to depict stunning photographs and video content of our products, and provide a secure online shopping experience. Although heavy on visuals and high security, the website needed to load speedily in order to minimize inconvenience to viewers. While aesthetics was a clear requirement, the website also served many other functions (e.g. provide product information, retail locations, etc.) and audiences (e.g. consumers, distributors, media); thus, it needed to be extremely simple and intuitive to navigate. Additionally, it needed to look clean, and not overload users with too much detail.
Newbie Friendly, Multi-Functional Back-End
As a small, starting company, minimizing costs was highly desirable. The founder of the company fortunately had previous knowledge in using Drupal, and built and designed the site with little web development cost. The only investment required for this project was procuring images and paying web hosting fees. Regarding the back end, the website ideally needed to be built quickly with relatively little difficulty, as well as be manageable long-term without becoming outdated, or require many hours for continual upkeep. We also desired to grow as a company and reach global customers, thus the website needed to incorporate multilingual functionality, calculate international shipping costs, convert currencies, and streamline traffic with minimal bottlenecks. Our project had many requirements, and since we deeply valued our viewers’ impression, our expectations for the website were high.
Search Engine Optimized and Continual Improvements
Thanks to Drupal’s ease of use and ready-made tools, the timeline to completion and the website going live was only two months. Since then, we have learned from our original launch, and reworked our website numerous times over with improvements to front-page design, in-site navigation, and search engine optimization. Increasing traffic is critical, and Drupal is great for SEO. By giving us full control of website content and analytics, we are able to track and pinpoint each flaw, and make appropriate modifications to enhance our search rankings. One of our most recent, major milestones was switching to Drupal 7 + Ubercart 3 and the migration of content and order history, which was facilitated with surprising ease. Drupal has surpassed our expectations in allowing us to create a sophisticated, multi-functional, intuitive website that is easily managed, continually improving, and free. We are grateful to the expertise and helpfulness of Drupal users and their kindly provided modules.
For users who aren't extremely savvy with website building, Drupal provides numerous ready-made, customizable, sophisticated tools through modules.
These were what we found useful:
The project developer (and founder of the company) only has a short history of website building, and is not proficient with coding and therefore has limited ability to contribute to creating modules or fixing bugs. However, he is keen to note the expansive benefits of Drupal to both experienced and new users and highly recommends it to other newcomers like him. He has also participated in patch testing and given feedback to the maintainers of Ubercart.