Never Stopping, Always Evolving
Leica Geosystems was founded on cutting-edge technology and continues to push the envelope with their revolutionary products. Leica Geosystems was founded by Heinrich Wild and made its first rangefinder in 1921. Fast forward to the 21st century, and Leica Geosystems is the leading manufacturer of precision laser technology used for measurements in architecture, construction, historic preservation, and DIY home remodeling projects.
Oomph and Leica collaborated on our first project in 2014 with a site built on Drupal 7 and a multisite architecture in 2015. That site was redesigned in 2016 with mostly UX improvements, and starting in 2018, we transitioned the site into a brand new codebase with Drupal 8. With this conversion, Oomph smoothed out the Leica team’s pain points related to a multisite architecture. We created a tightly integrated single site that can still serve multiple countries, languages, and currencies.
Page Designs with Flexible Content
Feeling the Pain-points with Multisite
Leica’s e-commerce store is active in multiple countries and languages. Managing content in a multisite environment meant managing multiple sites. Product, content, and price changes were difficult. It was Oomph’s challenge to make content and product management easier for the Leica team as well as support the ability to create new country sites on demand. Leica’s new e-commerce site needed to support:
Multiple countries and a Global option
Many 3rd-party integrations
The pain points of the previous Multisite architecture were that each country was a silo:
- No Single Sign On (SSO): Multiple admin log-ins to remember
- Repetitive updates: Running Drupal’s update script on every site and testing was a lengthy process
- Multiple stores: Multiple product lists, product features, and prices
- Multiple sites to translate: each site was sent individually to be translated into one language
Creating a Singularity with Drupal 8, Domain Access, & Drupal Commerce
A move to Drupal 8 in combination with some smart choices in module support and customization simplified many aspects of the Leica team’s workflow, including:
- Configuration management: Drupal 8’s introduction of configuration management in core means that point-and-click admin configuration can get exported from one environment and imported into another, syncing multiple environments and saving configuration in our code repository
- One Database to Rule Them All: Admins have a single site to log into and do their work, and developers have one site to update, patch, and configure
- One Commerce Install, Multiple stores: There is one Drupal Commerce 2.x install with multiple stores with one set of products. Each product has the ability to be assigned to multiple stores, and price lists per country control product pricing
- One Page in Multiple Countries and Multiple Languages: The new single site model gives a piece of content one place to live, while authors can control which countries the content is available and the same content is translated into all the languages available once.
- Future proof: With a smooth upgrade path into Drupal 9 in 2020, the Drupal 8 site gives Leica more longevity in the Drupal ecosystem
From more detailed information about how Oomph leveraged the Domain Access, Country Path, Commerce, and Commerce Store Domain modules, Oomph’s Senior Drupal Architect and the project’s lead developer, John Picozzi, conducted a talk for Drupal GovCon all about it.
Learn page vs. Shop page
Supporting Visitor Intention with Two Different Modes
While the technical challenges were being worked out, the user experience and design had to reflect a cutting-edge company. With the launch of their revolutionary product, the BLK 360, in 2018, Leica positioned itself as the Apple of the geospatial measurement community — sleek, cool, cutting-edge and easy to use. While many companies want to look as good as Apple, few of them actually have the content and product to back it up.
The navigation for the site went through many rounds of feedback and testing before deciding on something radically simple — Learn or Shop. A customer on the website is either in an exploratory state of mind — browsing, comparing, reviewing pricing and specifications — or they are ready to buy. We made it very clear which part of the website was for which.
This allowed us to talk directly to the customer in two very different ways. On the Learn side, the pages educate and convince. They give the customer information about the product, reviews, articles, sample data files, and the like. The content is big, sleek, and leverages video and other embedded content, like VR, to educate.
On the Shop side the pages are unapologetically transactional. Give the visitor the right information to support a purchase, clearly deliver specs and options like software and warranties, without any marketing. We could assume the customer was here to purchase, not to be convinced, so the page content could concentrate on order completion. The entire checkout process was simplified as much as possible to reduce friction. Buying habits and patterns of their user base over the past few site iterations were studied to inform our choices about where to simplify and where to offer options.
Building the Relationship to go Further
Oomph and Leica have been working together for over five years. One of the things that keeps the Leica team coming back is our willingness to constantly optimize, support changes in 3rd party integrations, and strategize on which new features to add from the backlog. Leica understands that while major initiatives might reset the foundation, a great website is never done.
The willingness of the Drupal community to support the needs of this project cannot be overlooked, either. Oomph has been able to leverage our team’s commitment to open source contributions to get other developers to add features to the modules they support. Without the give and take of the community and our commitment to give back, many modifications and customizations for this project would have been much more difficult. The team at Centarro, maintainers of the Commerce module, were fantastic to work with and we thank them.
We look forward to continuing to support Leica Geosystems and their product line worldwide. With a smooth upgrade path to Drupal 9 in 2020, the site is ready for the next big upgrade.
Awards & Recognition
- 2019 Davey Awards:
Silver — Construction Services Website