Case study: Rooted

Written by Mark Forrester on April 20, 2012 Customer Stories, News.

Maya Benari shares her experience working with the Listings theme for a client site wanting to showcase real food recipes.

ROOTED: Real food for an active lifestyle

Hi everybody! I’m Maya Benari, a designer and web developer based in Los Angeles, California. I’ve been happily working with WooThemes for over 2 years and am so excited to share the ROOTED website with you all.

When I first saw the African Cartel site last year, I was inspired by how a complete transformation of Listings could provide positive change for South African street artists, create a fully integrated experience that showcases and promotes their art, and ultimately provide a conduit to enhance their lives. With this in mind, I thought a similar integration could work pretty well for food too!

I was approached by a verynice design studio to develop the ROOTED website into a beautiful, feature-rich showcase and search engine for healthy recipes. With the Listings theme’s powerful content builder and advanced search capabilities, I knew it would be perfect to show off these delectable culinary inspirations. It was the use of the Listings theme and the WooThemes framework that paved the way for a dynamic, user-friendly, and informative website.

The ROOTED Lifestyle

The site was created to cultivate the ROOTED lifestyle: healthy living by eating well and staying active. We wanted the site to spread healthy vibes through food that is local, organic, seasonal, and “rooted” to the environment. The goal: connect people through food.

A listings page used to showcase delicious recipes.

Founder Casey Weaver describes the ROOTED lifestyle as relying primarily on real foods that can be traced back to where they came from, whether a home garden, farmer’s market, butcher, or your local grocery store, and creating recipes from them that fuel an active lifestyle. It’s not about a particular diet or one single activity, but living consciously and breaking the mould.”

Breaking the Mold

We transformed the homepage with a bold feature panel that showcases the healthy “ROOTED” recipes. The Listings featured panel is brought to life with gorgeous edge-to-edge photographs of the latest recipe that fades to the previous recipes or blog posts. To the immediate left of the featured recipes panel are static photos that exemplify an active lifestyle. This really lets the star of the show, the food, shine. The recipe title and description excerpt are also caringly placed into a slim black rectangle slightly overlaying the featured recipe photo. A great tip: play with function.php to limit excerpt length.

The ROOTED homepage with good use of the Listings featured panel.

Since we included all-image photos on the panel, we noticed a problem with the initial loading time: the wood-textured background would show for a good couple of seconds before the image fully loaded. Changing the featured panel background to black solved this, creating a cinematic feel as the photos fade in and helping user’s eyes ease into a new culinary and eye-tantalizing photo.

Search for the Seasons

One of the most exciting elements on the site was the transformation of the search module. The search module caters to user choice, allowing individualized searches by main ingredient, type of dish, dietary consideration, and season. This allows for a huge array of possibilities, satisfying even the pickiest eater. In redesigning the search module, we listed selections on top of each other rather than side-by-side for a more focused and user-friendly experience, allowing for the ROOTED photography to stay prominent on the right. We also included the listing’s ID, but changed its title to recipe ID so people can quickly go to any recipe. By adding a recipe ID to the end of each recipe post, people can quickly find the dish they are looking for.

The ROOTED beautifully styled search module and search results.

Fun Features

Integrating MailChimp, Facebook comments to posts, the Flickr photo widget, and a simple Vimeo iframe embed was a snap and made the sidebar come to life in a fun way by allowing for a dynamic and user-integrated experience across media platforms.

More on the Way

Round 2 is going to be about building community, sharing user-submitted recipes (integrating the Gravity forms plugin), and continuing to grow the ROOTED lifestyle.

Summary / My Experience

I see WooThemes more as a tool to work with my clients than for them; a technology that lets me create the best experience, provide the most value, and achieve results with the greatest impact on the community my client is trying to reach.

My goal is to empower, give confidence to, and provide tools for my clients to succeed. By handing over a website that is easy to use and maintain, clients are thrilled by the accessibility and functionality that this new platform provides.

The blog area of the ROOTED website.

I really enjoy breaking the Woo mold and building something completely new with Woo’s stellar framework. Every project I’ve completed has been a wonderful learning experience, helping my next venture to build upon the successes of the last. WooThemes is like a pre-fab house, but one where you can move the walls, change the paint, and add appliances (i.e. plugins)… and get up and running in a very short time. The more I work with WooThemes, the more excited I am to take risks. What I’ve learned in my two years using Woo is to not be afraid to try new things & really go for it! I look forward to continue building and breaking Woo’s (beautifully crafted) molds ;).

Studio Credits: a verynice design studio. Website Development: Maya Benari.

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11 Responses

  1. Jamey Warren
    April 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    Nice work Maya! The website looks awesome. It’s nice to see listings used in a different way. Your case study gives me a few ideas and the courage needed to break out of the mold.

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. Ryan Ray
    April 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    I remember coming across this site not too long ago, great work Maya!

    Really great design and mod, and great images too. Top notch all the way!

  3. matt
    April 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Nice work on the site Maya. Great transformation.

  4. Lyman
    April 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    stunning site and great concept!

  5. Anthony Rome
    April 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Wow, love this design, I draw inspiration from this for my projects.

    Jolly good job 😉

  6. Serg
    April 20, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Good job Maya! I always thought the listing theme is one of the best WordPress themes from Woo:)
    Love the pictures!!

  7. James
    April 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    Very tasty work and attention to detail. Super job.

  8. deeptitanic
    April 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    I take it rooted doesn’t have the same meaning in the us

  9. Rahul Sharma
    April 22, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    Awesome customization!

  10. Crock Pot Review
    May 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    I’m kinda loving ROOTED now. Haha! Thanks for the information!

  11. Lawn Master
    June 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    It was a nightmare handling moles in my last garden, lived very near some local woods so that it was to be not a surprise…nonetheless they were able to destroy virtually any garden work I tried