Interview with Oleg Helg, Shopify Theme Developer
The work of a Shopify theme developer often seems a complex matter that takes specific skills, approaches, and experience. From WordPress to HTML, diverse solutions and themes offer a wide set of great features and possibilities. Some platforms have been around for years while others are rapidly developing and getting more popular. The latter is especially true for Shopify. Nowadays it’s ranked among the best eCommerce platforms. And being successful in this field often depends on a good design and proper functionality that can impress your potential customers.
But what does it take to develop a Shopify theme that is not just well-designed and responsive but also versatile? We sat down with Oleg Helg, one of Zemez’s Shopify theme developers, to ask these and other questions. From skills needed to build a theme for the world’s leading eCommerce platform to experience and favorite projects he has worked on, this short interview covers everything you may want to know about the creative challenges and interesting tasks a Shopify developer has to deal with.
How We Appreciate the Work of Our Team Members
Oleg Helg is an experienced Shopify theme developer who joined the Zemez team in 2015. Since then, he has contributed a lot to the varied projects of our team. Many Shopify themes developed by our team are his merit. However, we believe that the cooperative work of all specialists at Zemez is the key to the success of our solutions. That’s why we always try to listen to our developers, designers, and QA experts and incorporate their ideas into our products. This helped us develop a variety of awesome themes, such as:
In some companies, developers often feel underappreciated. At Zemez, we make every effort to avoid it. Every member of our team adds a unique element of innovative and creative thinking to our solutions. In this series of interviews prepared by our authors, we offer you to take a look at the personalities and professional approaches of our team members. You’ll find out how different solutions and tools used by our experts are built and incorporated into the products we offer you. Now, let’s meet Oleg and learn what he thinks about his role as a Shopify developer.
Having years of experience in Shopify, how do you see your mission as a developer?
As a part of the Zemez team, I strive to create themes that meet the requirements and recommendations of the Shopify platform. Satisfying customers’ needs for functionality that is not available “out of the box” is also one of my primary priorities. As I see it, not all Shopify users are 100% content with what the default solutions have to offer. Moreover, not everyone knows how Shopify works under the hood. That’s why I try to provide the highly demanded eCommerce features in the themes I work on. To be fair, it helps with not only establishing a better connection with our customers but also sets new challenges before any Shopify theme developer.
What do you like the most about your job?
It’s hard to pick the most favorite aspect of it but I guess there are a few things. Building something new with code is probably one of my favorite things about what I do. It’s a truly creative task that allows me to combine visual concepts provided by our designers with current project goals. Often, I may also add a few unique ideas to the project to make the final result closer to what our clients like. My job also allows me to work from anywhere in the world. This is another great advantage of my profession that I wholeheartedly enjoy.
For 8 years, you have undoubtedly worked on a bunch of projects. What are your favorite ones?
Indeed, there were many projects and a lot of interesting ones. Vendy multipurpose Shopify theme is one of the solutions I especially enjoyed working on. It became a quintessence of all the recent achievements our team worked on. We improved the theme performance in comparison with our previous products. Also, with this solution, it became clearer how more complex themes must be built. It was a great experience for me as a Shopify theme developer and a huge step up in theme development for Zemez as well.
How much time does it usually take to develop a Shopify theme from scratch?
Currently, I’m not developing themes from scratch. Since the Online Store 2.0 update, I have been using the new theme. It’s called Dawn and it is developed by the latest standards and trends. Its functionality also meets Shopify’s requirements. I have been using this theme recently to create better-optimized and more flexible solutions that are based on it. For example, in one of our upcoming themes, Vendy Pro, I have created more unique features, such as:
- Compare popup;
- Custom badges and labels;
- Horizontal and vertical media gallery;
- Advanced swatches;
- Fake notifications etc.
These new options and advantages will help our clients to extend the functionality of their stores. My experience in web development allows me to better analyze and understand what advantages our clients appreciate the most. As for the time of theme development, here everything depends on the project. From the complexity of the design to the presence of additional functionality in the mockups, there are dozens of factors to consider. For this reason, each theme has its development period that is set individually.
What are the most necessary skills for a Shopify developer?
To develop themes for Shopify, it is enough to know several technologies, such as CSS, JS, HTML, and Liquid. While the first three can be applied to any modern website, Liquid is used only in Shopify themes. It’s more of an internal communication language to help the theme you’re working on transfer data more efficiently. Working on your soft skills, such as communication can also make a great difference for a Shopify theme developer. Besides, be sure to familiarize yourself with the documentation. It will help you better understand how themes work. You’ll also learn what is required to create one.
In your opinion, what is the main reason for Shopify’s popularity?
I guess the main reason is the integrated SaaS solutions. They enable the client to create a working store with minimal investments. They don’t need to hire developers or worry about hosting. It’s all available “out of the box” and can be used right away, which is a great advantage. The clients’ reviews and expectations in 2023 reflect it. It is also convenient for developers. For example, you can connect to the store from any computer. Continuing your work from where you left off is simple. This is possible due to Shopify’s worldwide availability. Also, this simplifies the work of customer support specialists. All they need to access a client’s website are their login credentials.
Do new Shopify features and technologies help in theme development?
Absolutely. The technology of creating custom web components based on pure JS is very convenient. It allows you to reuse elements, blocks, and sections. Such an approach is widely used across various platforms. However, it is specifically important for eCommerce and Shopify in particular. It helps any Shopify theme developer to create new solutions upon well-tested elements. They are integrated into Zemez’s previous works. Besides, Shopify’s functionality is quite extendable. Thanks to it, we don’t need to bind to an identifier and write redundant code.
What does your work depend more on – creativity or technology?
I think the set tasks have a considerable influence on the result. But we are talking about what impacts my work the most, right? In this case, it’s a combination of both. Some themes require a more creative approach. The other ones are built around the latest technological features. They include our recent themes with Online Store 2.0 support. To my mind, we keep a balance between technology and creativity most of the time. This helps us deliver solutions that are appreciated by our clients. Moreover, it gives those unacquainted with Shopify a chance to get started. They can choose the fitting topic, design, or functionality.
Are there any secrets to creating a good Shopify theme?
Well, there are some tips worth mentioning. I can’t surely say if it can be considered a secret to a Shopify theme developer though. Firstly, try to make settings in the customization panel as convenient as possible. This will help you better understand what each option is responsible for. Besides, I’d recommend using the technology of the Liquid theme language to the maximum. If you want to create truly responsive themes, knowing how it works is crucial.
Thanks for answering our questions, Oleg. Lastly, do you have any tips for beginners in Shopify development?
Probably, studying the Shopify documentation is what I’d recommend. Theme developers can learn a lot from it. Regardless of what you’re planning to develop, it’s necessary to do it by the book. This will help make sure that your ideas are properly implemented. Also, try to stay consistent when developing a new theme or working with new Shopify features. Eventually, it will pay off, bring outstanding results, and positively influence your reputation.
Interview with the Shopify Theme Developer: Conclusion
We hope this short interview with Oleg Helg, our Shopify theme developer, was useful and informative to you. Being one of our talented team members, he regularly delivers innovative solutions that are reliable. His skills and unique vision allowed us to bring more great themes. The creative ideas of Oleg and other developers at Zemez result in new & popular solutions for your favorite eCommerce platforms.
For more interviews like this, stay tuned to our blog. Our authors regularly publish new engaging and informative articles on diverse topics. They vary from SEO to web design and online marketing. Thus, there’s a lot you can read about on our website. Also, don’t forget to take a look at our portfolio. There you’ll find more solutions and themes similar to those mentioned in this post. And if you are an avid user of social networks, follow us on Instagram and Facebook. With Zemez, you can always be updated with the latest from the world of web design and development.