Spotlight: Paramore|Redd - Back Yard Burgers

February 23, 2010
by Jacob Russell

This week we spotlight interactive agency Paramore|Redd and the site they built for Back Yard Burgers.

Our “Spotlight” series of articles gives designers, developers, add-on creators, and just generally great members of the ExpressionEngine community a chance to talk about how they have used EE and its add-ons in their work.

Paramore|Redd is a full-service interactive agency in Nashville, TN that works with clients across the country.  They’ve been using ExpressionEngine almost exclusively for the past 3 years and are members of the EE Pro Network.  You may have seen their work on their Tennessee Display Campaign or for the Gary Player Group.  Their new project, Back Yard Burgers, is a very polished site with a lot of EE add-on goodies behind the scenes.

Back Yard Burgers

Give us a little background on your business: What do you do and how do you use ExpressionEngine on a daily basis?

Almost every site coming out of Paramore|Redd is built on ExpressionEngine. We’ve been working in EE for almost 3 years and are proud members of the ExpressionEngine Pro Network.

How did you get started with ExpressionEngine?

After the frustration of other content management systems reached critical mass, we set out to find a new and powerful CMS. After quite a bit of rigorous research, we found ExpressionEngine to be a perfect fit. Our first site using EE confirmed our suspicions; EE was the powerful tool we’d been looking for. Three years later we’ve used EE almost exclusively and have pushed it to the limit; we are always trying new things and are excited to see where 2.0 is going to take us. Perhaps the best example of our use of EE to date is our most recent site, Back Yard Burgers.

What is this site, and why is it special?

Back Yard Burgers came to us with a desire to reinvent themselves. The idea was not to completely change the already successful brand, but to enhance it. We created a top notch design and built the whole thing on ExpressionEngine. The build was pretty straightforward. They needed to promote the food first and foremost. Secondly, customers needed to be able to find current promotions, restaurant locations and franchising. The design grabbed the users attention while the functionality created a graceful user experience.

What add-ons are you using on that site?

I think you meant… what add-ons aren’t we using? We made use of File Manager, Freeform, REEOrder, Edit Tab AJAX, Safe Encode, FieldFrame (FF Matrix, Playa, nGen File Field), Category Checkboxes, LG .htaccess Generator, LG Add Sitename and Simplify Edit Table to name a few.

Were there any particularly challenging parts of this site that required creative solutions? What add-ons were involved with that?

Our goal when using add-ons is two fold. We want to enhance the user experience, but we also want to make sure to keep maintenance simple for the client. Most of the site is pretty straightforward, but we got creative with the menu section. The client needed the capability to add new items on the fly, so we built it to be fully dynamic and easy to maintain. We used the nGen File Field for the Menu item images - the user uploads a single image and we use Image Sizer to create the thumbnails found in the related items section. When featuring menu items on the home page we took advantage of Brandon Kelly’s FF Matrix with the Playa add-on to avoid requiring the client to upload additional images and duplicate content. Thanks to Brandon’s great add-ons, we were able to do this quickly and easily. Definitely a time-saver.

What is the greatest need you have on this site that you wish were met by an EE add-on?

We have a pretty good grasp on what add-ons are available (devot:ee on my feed reader helps with that!) so we’re able to find the right add-ons for most of our challenges. However, the menu side navigation is one place I would have loved to find a shortcut. The desire for a fully dynamic nav coupled with this challenging design made for some tricky code. It would have been great to find an add-on to make things a little easier.

There are a lot of add-ons in the EE world now, which ones do you find most useful throughout your work?

I wouldn’t want to develop a site without Brandon Kelly’s FieldFrame! He’s brought great field types like nGen File Field and his own FF Matrix to our development arsenal. I also dig in to Leevi Graham and Solspace’s tool boxes on every site with LG .htaccess Generator and Solspace’s Freeform module.

What’s next?

We’re working on several sites in the travel-tourism vertical right now and streamlining the development process every chance we get. It’s our goal to continue to build beautiful sites with tons of functionality that still exhibit an elegant and simple framework. Thanks to EE and the add-ons available (and soon to be available) we’re able to achieve those goals. Next? We’ve begin digging around in EE 2.0 and are really loving the simplicity! It looks like great things are on the horizon.

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