Introducing Wyatt

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At Syatt, we’re passionate about using the right tool for the job. We don’t get caught up in fads or “cool” tech. Our experience and expertise in solving ecommerce problems of every scale, enables us to become true partners with our clients. We understand their needs, and craft our solutions to meet those needs. This has led to Wyatt, our custom Shopify Plus theme framework. We’ve taken all of our experience building countless storefronts, to create a tool that enables us to deliver bespoke storefront solutions that cater to each merchant’s individual needs. To best understand what Wyatt is, it’s helpful to start with what it’s not.

Wyatt is not a replacement for Dawn

This is not a criticism of Shopify’s flagship theme; far from it. It’s simply an understanding of the significantly different goals that Dawn and Wyatt have. After the shared goals of being highly performant and accessible, Wyatt begins to diverge. Dawn is designed to meet the most common needs of as many types of merchants as possible, while also serving as a reference for all theme development. It’s a tough job, but it does it well. Meanwhile, Wyatt is designed to meet all of the needs of a single merchant.

Wyatt is designed to do “the simple things quickly and the complex things confidently”

This may be a tad cheesy as a tagline, but it really does capture the core of what Wyatt is. One thing Shopify has done is raise the merchant’s expectations for level of effort in developing storefront features. And this is a good thing! It shouldn’t take hours and hours of effort to make basic additions or changes. But our clients don’t come to us for basic things. We thrive in complexity. This is where Wyatt shines. We’re able to build entirely custom features, or make significant sitewide changes, without fear of introducing bugs or regressions.

Wyatt’s Core Principles

  • Performance & Accessibility
    As mentioned above, we agree with Shopify that these are non-negotiable and woven into nearly every architectural decision. Every code change gets run against Lighthouse testing to help ensure quality in this area. We even run it against 3rd party app changes to the theme as well, so we’re always aware how a theme is performing.

  • Consistent & strong conventions, patterns, and standards
    Without this, simple things take longer, and complex things become riskier. BEM, ITCSS, Javascript Modules, Custom Elements, among other best practices, are all used to great effect in properly componentizing the entire theme.

  • Admin UX is just as important as Storefront UX
    In Wyatt, content management is a first class citizen. Section settings are intuitively and consistently organized, taking advantage of everything that Shopify’s theme editor offers. Metafields and metaobjects are additional ways for merchants to optimize their customers’ experience, whether rendered directly or as a dynamic source in the theme’s settings.

  • Library-free & minimal build tooling
    Shopify gives merchants tremendous control over their themes. For many developers, this is a source of anxiety. However, Wyatt leans into it, using it as a driver to stay as lean as possible. Using natively supported browser technologies, and Shopify’s GitHub integration, the source code that Wyatt developers work on is the theme code anyone can see in the admin. Why is this important? No matter where theme changes come from, whether it’s a developer at Syatt, an app, or a code savvy merchant making edits in the admin, everything is tracked, synced, and just works.

To configure or not to configure

Returning to the divergent goals of Wyatt and Dawn, the biggest difference is certainly the number of configurable settings. A primary goal of Wyatt was to prevent putting any limits on Syatt’s talented design and UX teams. So each project started on Wyatt is beginning with no preconceived notions of style. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more style choices you make configurable in the theme editor, the more opinionated the code becomes. And then you’re left with one of two options:

  • Begin telling designers what they can’t do
  • Or introducing more and more complexity, both in the code and the Admin UX. And both of these are contrary to Wyatt’s core principles.

Having said that, Wyatt is still highly configurable. After all, what is the best way to achieve “doing the simple things quickly?” By not needing a developer at all, and allowing the merchant to change a simple setting as they see fit. The tradeoff comes with theme elements whose configurability would conflict with other core principles of Wyatt.

We love Wyatt & so do our clients

Check out our case study on replatforming Snugglebugz onto Shopify Plus. With Wyatt, they’ve remarked on the pace and quality of development, as well as the ease with which content can be managed across all of the site templates.