Broadcast Theme: A Customization Study

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Broadcast Theme: A Customization Study

What is the best style of the Broadcast child themes?

Broadcast is very a very multipurpose Shopify Theme, we love it for small business selling fashion, lifestyle, and wellness products alike who want to cater to a more luxury market. Shopify Broadcast theme comes in 4 robust, albeit very similar looking, styles.

  • Clean
  • Modern
  • Bright (new!)
  • Bold

In our Shopify Expert Design Agency opinion: All 4 of these are perfectly generic enough, yet also special and robust enough, to effectively use as a springboard to apply any brand visual language and look totally unique. Remember the theme previews are only created to make you envision your brand. All of the features you see across all previews (and more) are available when you buy the theme.

Which one is best for me?

The simplistic aesthetic of the Broadcast theme is an ideal fit for bespoke products, but we have used it for haircare brands, supplement brands, fashion, and CPG. Its modern feel and vast selection of customization options will give your Shopify store a sophisticated look with lots of design variability.

The stylish design of the Modern theme is a great choice for clothing and fashion niche stores. But we have also implemented this in our Shopify Accelerator service in 3 weeks or less, for brands in the Hair Care, CPG (consumer packaged goods) and lifestyle space as well.

Shopify store owners who want a unique look can take advantage of the Bold theme to stand out from the crowd. It comes with plenty of options for customizing collection pages, focusing on conversions, and more.

It's important to note that, regardless of which style you choose, when you install Broadcast it comes with every feature possibility you can see in all 3 themes.

The look you get really vastly depends on the design you apply to it - and a design agency can really help nail the personality you want to get across with clever typography and color application.

What child theme we chose to develop

We chose to use the Clean theme as our jumping off point for our recent client launch, Bare Biology, but customized some key elements like SEO Landing pages using existing blocks from theme to create long-form lead pages for the brand their team can easily manage, duplicate, and add to. With all the features being responsive friendly, the merchant can easily create a section with confidence knowing it will look beautiful on mobile.

All of the child themes features a minimal and professional design that sets it apart from other Shopify themes. It comes with customizable menus, easy navigation, and intuitive design elements that make it easy to use. The theme is also optimized for mobile devices so you can be sure your customers will have an enjoyable shopping experience no matter what device they choose to shop on. Something we love in particular is a new addition to the Broadcast theme where you can have a different menu system for mobile than desktop. This does mean double menu management, however the benefits outweight the cost greatly. When you have huge mega menus on desktop with lots of subcategories, this often means mobile users have a lot of unecessary extra clicks to get where they want to go. With a separated menu experience on mobile you can condense these levels for a more considered experience.

Furthermore, the developer has added several customizations to the Shopify Broadcast Shopify Theme, making customizing their store's layout and functionality an easy task. This means that you can make sure your online store looks exactly the way you want it to, giving you more control over its design but with seemingly limitless options.

  1. mobile-friendly design,

  2. customizations section options,

  3. built-in SEO tools

  4. well merchandised blog that auto pulls products in from in-article mentions

  5. lots of interactive features to make the reading experience more engaging

What are the themes key design features?

With its modern design, minimalist layouts, and powerful features, it's easy to see why this Shopify theme has become one of the most popular choices among merchants today.

We particulalry love the flagship features Broadcast has with featured imagery on carousels, collection pages and featured products. Meaning you can really highlight the lifestyle aspects of your brand and create a mood much more easily.

On one of our clients, Hair Holistic, being able to call out most popular products in the large catalogues or new releases when deep into a sub category was super helpful to increase click-through rates.

Multiple hero banner layouts

One of the main features all stores now rely on is large hero imagery on the home page to immediately communicate story, perceived value, and product type. Being able to use a video, split screen, or full screen image where you can manipulate the text position and order of typography is one of the strengths of this home page builder for funkier layouts - we love advanced customization options for templates to not look like templates. The default theme that comes with broadcast, clean, really showcases the multiple ways this Shopify theme shines with catalogues that have a high amount of SKUs. Our redesign for the Bare Biology website using the Broadcast Clean theme as a jumping off point, with many customizations made by our development team to make it truly bespoke.

Broadcast comes with a bunch of flexible header image options

We utilized a bunch of different looks for Bare Biologys header

Additional customizations we've made:

  1. Adding new content types to add features like the dynamic Trust Pilot reviews for trust building,

  2. Adjusted alignment on mobile for more design control on different crops

  3. Changing the smart defaults of the hero section to be more on-brand with less finnicky settings changes

Sticky Add-to-Cart feature on the Product Page

Making sure your product is always easy to start cart building is so important, especially when using long-form sales page tactics with products that need a lot of decision support.

The Broadcast theme comes with an out of the box sticky product add to cart bar that only displays, very intelligently may we add, when you scroll past the initial product form making sure it doesn't confuse or obscure the essential information on first page load for mobile.

Having essential product info like price, name, and ability to instant add to cart is essential for conversion focused product pages.

Additional customizations we've made:

  1. Reducing hierarchy on certain buttons so the decision support content stands out on mobile

  2. Using ReBuy for a smart cart experience with more personalized merchandising

  3. Using unique icons for a more on-brand experience

Lifestyle options for product carousels

We particularly love the keystone feature of a product carousel with a featured lead image - perfect for incorporating lifestyle images or key products you want to highlight and make your website look warmer and less generic by sprinkling in brand imagery throughout.

Lifestyle image in carousels

Being able to show product qualities, but also curated the best selling products immediately with luxurious feeling imagery helps warm up an otherwise clinical experience.

Additional customizations we've made:

  1. Making the description on top optional for the collections image injection feature

  2. Adding button color options so lighter images could benefit from higher contrast CTAs

3) How mobile friendly is this Shopify Theme?

In short: very. Every detail of each section has been considered for clumsy thumbs and having all pertinent information within close reach. Since most of our merchants sales will be on mobile, we love that Broadcast comes with ways to focus on height, spacing, and font sizing for a more natural and condensed but not crowded responsive design.

Mobile friendly and slick menu navigation

We particularly love that the Broadcast theme has thought of merchants with more complex catalogues with their multilevel menu experience. With plush animations that make the interactions feel very luxe, the ability to carry the same feature photo options to mobile makes management of the interface much less cumbersome to setup.

So many theme developers miss the details with having space for other utility options to live on mobile - like currency selectors, and nav items that have a lower hierarchy. The Broadcast theme comes with 2 submenus in the mobile nav, plus easy access to your social channels within 1 tap.

slick mobile menu experience

The Broadcast theme comes with a rich multilevel menu experience that consider merchant maintainability easy. The animations are simple but responsive.

Additional customizations we've made:

  1. Site-wide using more responsive friendly typography tricks to make sure we don't see wierd word wrapping

  2. Deferring some scripts until later in the page load for more responsiveness and speed

Incredibly Responsive Intelligent Sitewide Search

We love that the search for Broadcast helps get customers closer to exactly what they're looking for as fast as possible. The speed at suggesting results within 3-4 characters for products storewide makes for an elegant and highly usable search feature leading to increasing product views and subsequently, sales.

Responsive mobile friendly search with type ahead

Searching for generalized keywords in the Broadcast themes returns immediate product results in a very discoverable manner.

Plus, search results for more than just products

We love that search results also highlight blog articles, and you can easily tailor a no search results microcopy with a handy reset button to be more

Further customizations we've made:

  1. Hiding products that shouldn't be discoverable with smart non-indexing metafield system for promotional and gift-with-purchase products

  2. Adding metafields to our collections to show illustrative icons instead of bulky boxy images for our collection slider by benefits

  3. Adding background color seperation to the header on mobile and customizing the icons to be more on-brand and the search more notcable when open

4) Is the Shopify Broadcast theme optimized for SEO?

The theme comes with built-in SEO tools which help you rank higher on search engines, as well as options for customizing your store's layout and functionality.

The Shopify Broadcast is one of the best Shopify Themes because it also comes with customizable menus and navigation, so you can tailor the look and feel of your store to exactly fit your brand's style. Shopify has made sure that all the design elements are mobile-friendly, which has an immense impact on your ranking scope. Most of core theme features that are often overlooked, like the size of icons in the header, to the touch targets for things like FAQ accordions, have been optimized to hit the minimum targets recommended by Google for UX best practices.

92 SEO score with broadcast

Our redesign for boasts a 92% SEO score and high site speed and accessibility scores.

Google Micro-data structures are built-in

We love that this theme has paid attention to key details like including microdata and JSON structures for SEO optimization. Included in the main theme files includes code injecting SCHEMA for Products, Breadcrumbs, Articles, Blogs, and more.

Theme.liquid comes with lots of well formatted microdata

The theme.liquid file comes full of schema properly formatted for Google search, typically overlooked by other themes. That makes our theme development team so happy to not have to troubleshoot.

Google loves seeing these JSON structures for capturing information search engines can understand better what key information is captured on the pages they're indexing and how relevant they are to users search queries.

JSON structures captured more relevant data from crawling

After launch the good URLS increased significantly in quality

Additional customizations we've made:

  1. Adding microdata for Logo and Site name Schema types, and more

  2. Adding schema for product name, price, image and descriptions for rich results

  3. Adding itemprops and alt tag support for better SEO performance scores on Lighthouse testing

  4. Adjusted some items to pre-emptively load for the next potential page

  5. Changed the Blog article page to utilize an H1 tag (as of Nov 2023 this was fixed in the base theme code)

5) What are the best Theme Features in Broadcast?

The Shopify Broadcast Shopify Theme is packed with powerful features that make it a great option for those who want to quickly and easily create an online store. Shopify has made sure that this Shopify theme is optimized for mobile devices, so customers can have an enjoyable shopping experience regardless of the device they use to shop.

Endless Customization options for Custom Content Blocks

One of the most multi-functional pieces of the Broadcast theme, and what makes it a designers dream as well, is the custom content section type. With multiple different block options such as:

  • Before and after slider (great for showing transformations)

  • Testimonials - great for highlighting reviews

  • Product cards

  • Collections

  • Newsletter

  • and more

This section is easy to create high quality CTAs and decision support throughout the entire customer journey.

How we improved this already robust section

For Bare Biology, and Hair Holistic we made 7 additional block options available for our SEO pages to give even more flexibility in the content, such as:

  1. Adding additional headings and text fields for long form copy

  2. Adding an accordion feature to condense bullet point items

  3. Adding a shopable lifestyle image to quick shop featured products

  4. Creating an anchor link block to allow readers to quickly navigate to the most relevant section of a long format page

  5. Creating additional height options, like sticky, to make certain sections have smaller lifestyle images respect their aspect ratio and scroll with the user for longer text

  6. Shoppable lifestyle images beside long format text

  7. Properly formatted bullet and numbered lists within a content section to break up text more

Multiple functional header styles

Center, left, top stacked. Regardless of your site navigation structure or awkward logo size, the Broadcast theme comes with the most commonly desired navigation layouts for ease of way-finding for your customer and SEO best practices. We love developing shopify themes that have flexibility in mind, so we can focus on clean design customizations instead of annoying technical enhancements that should come out of the box.

Header style logo center menu left

header style minimal with hamburger menu on desktop

Menu style items centered for more flexible longer names

Alternate header style menu under logo for large catalogues

Rich product page options optimized for shopping and browsing

Making your catalogue easy to shop and discovery is no easy feat. One core feature most Shopify themes miss is the ability to merchandise hyper-relevant products to "create a look" or "complete a routine". The developer of the Broadcast theme has given merchants 2 new ways to create rich product relationships: Using tags or new metafield implementation. Plus with quick add to cart even for products with multiple variants, it's easy to create the combinations you want with far fewer clicks required.

Theme documentation for cross sellsThe theme developers documentation showing key features like sibling products and related products is extremely robust.

How we customized the cross sell features and story blocks

We manipulated the related products into a custom slider to show the same product sold in multiple formats as sibling products using metafields

Advanced Product Filtering and smart resizing Collections grid

On high-volume of SKU stores, it's often difficult to strike a balance between aesthetic and minimal collection pages, while having robust filtering features. The Broadcast theme changes things, with a smart show-and-hide filter sidebar for better performance but also lowers cognitive load on the customer with advanced product filtering.

We kicked things up a notch by integrating our Filter with Shopify's Search and Grow native app to create new Filter types from Smart Metafield architecture choices. Being able to sort by product types without leading a customer to a zero-result is so important when considering search terms. From age, to product benefit, to texture type, we made the Bare Biology catalogue highly discoverable no matter your supplement preference or goals.

If you're a fashion brand, consider the different ways customers want to be able to shop products that metafields now unlocks: fit, cut, seasonality, occasion, and more. The Broadcast makes it easy to add a multitude of filter options to your e commerce catalogue to tailor to the modality of your customers searching thought patterns.

Custom metafield search and discover filteringUsing metafields enabled us to enrich the already highly usable filetring experience for bare biologys customer shopping preferences

Our Summary

First, Is it worth paying for a the Broadcast theme for my Shopify store?

For a cool price tag $360 USD, you will be able to unlock a lot of key features to build out landing pages, and drive original decision supporting content to your product pages. Considering all the features this theme is packed with (including native Subscription support) you can save $$ on a ton of fluffy apps to increase store conversions and better storytelling overall for your store. Better yet, you can customize the Broadcast theme more easily with less cumbersome settings that are more global-meaning you can tweak your look and feel with more speed and see more consistency in your branding sitewide. Overall, this Shopify Theme is a great investment. It has survived 3 generations of Shopify platform upgrades, it extremely well documented, and the development team has a great track record of support as well.

Last, What improvements the Broadcast theme would we make?

Audit of performance metrics

  1. Using critical-path CSS for the header and specific template sections to lower the First Contentful Paint time which would increase native theme performance.

  2. Add some ARIA roles for more accessible carousels

  3. Linking sections to specific documentation in their GitBook theme docs for merchants

  4. Adding recommended image sizes to their documentation

  5. Being able to move the breadcrumb on the PDP to a different area (like above the images and text)

  6. Change the size, or hide the product image thumbnails on mobile (we had to hack this customization ourself)

  7. Making all javascript minified by default

  8. Partitioning CSS files to only load Product Page, Collection page, and article page CSS when you're on that specific template type to lower unused CSS per page.

  9. Adding text customization features to the subscription widget

  10. Making the Account center experience more navigation friendly with a better sidebar and editing address experience

  11. Making the sticky add to cart subscription friendly

  12. SVG support for site logos

  13. Microdata on site logo elements

  14. Ability to pick and choose <h> level element on blocks with heading tags

  15. FAQ schema data for SEO

  16. H1 tags on the Blog article titles (fixed as of November 2023 base theme)

I would also be super keen to see how Shopify Theme Developers also make updating themes more accessible in the future to those who have made considerable customiations to their stores. Even being able to add tracking codes to the theme.liquid file can lock you out of being eligible for theme upgrades when developer add helpful new features. We would love to see developers make updating a less cumbersome and risky operation, if you're a merchant who doesn't know code or hasen't backed up their site to a professional version control repository.

What if I need help updating Broadcast to the new version?

Good news, we offer Shopify Theme 2.0 upgrades to new clients. If you're still on the antiquated version of Shopify's theme system, and you're feeling blocked on making key improvements, or you are jealous of features you currently don't have, our team would love to chat and see what's possible for your brand. You can book a clarity intro call here to discuss!

Why is my Shopify store using Broadcast is really slow?

Site speed is a complex topic, but thankfully there's a few key areas you can focus on. We wrote more about this in our blog post on Brilliant ways to improve your Shopify Site Speed here.

What if I need help making more unique touches to my Shopify theme?

If this post inspired you, and you feel that it’s time to call in some help, we can meet you wherever you’re at and prioritize the things that are going to make a big difference for you. Hire Arq to start a much needed website refresh project, like Bare Biology did, and let's see about making similar improvements for a site that connects deeper, and converts with ease.


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