Allan Pooley and Sakura Rimal created their agency, Little & Big, to tackle big projects for the little people. More precisely, this developer and designer team, based in Sydney, Australia, helps small businesses take on the potentially daunting tasks of branding, web design, and web development.
"The motivation for starting Little & Big was to make significant contributions to unique projects," says Pooley. "For each client, we help develop a brand and then design a website to support it—whatever kind of website the client needs. We work on everything from basic marketing SPAs to e-commerce sites."
Faster in every possible way
Pooley began his web development career using the WordPress content management system (CMS). But as he matured as a developer he began to use React: "React gives developers superpowers—it lets us do a lot of cool things fast." So Pooley tried using React as a frontend for a headless WordPress — a less than desirable scenario, given the time delay between these two boxes, the React front-end and the WordPress server. Searching for a solution, Pooley came across Gatsby.
"Gatsby makes things incredibly simple because the source plugins just let you pull down data very easily from anywhere," he says. Gatsby's rich ecosystem of plugins allows developers to easily compose their site from many different services, like Mailchimp and Shopify, and integrate them easily."The source plugins let you pull down data and integrate with services like Mailchimp very easily," says Pooley. "You just install a plugin, provide an API key, and you are good to go."
Meanwhile, Gatsby's image optimization capabilities reduce the effort required to prepare images for a site. "I can give Gatsby an image, and it does a lot of the work for me," says Pooley. "It will create a low-fidelity Base64 preview, compress it, and convert it into a web-friendly format. Features like that are just incredible. Gatsby does a whole bunch of nice stuff that makes our sites look better without much extra work on our end."
"Gatsby changed everything," says Pooley. "It eliminates the time delay between the frontend and the CMS. Using Gatsby features like webpacks to bundle JS modules really speeds up development time. And it just does things behind the scenes that make websites incredibly fast, which is particularly great for mobile."
In short, he concludes, "Gatsby makes things faster in every possible way."
Delivering responsive, interactive client sites with Gatsby
Today, Pooley uses Gatsby as the frontend framework whenever the agency builds a client site. He integrates Gatsby with a headless Prismic CMS, uses Shopify for e-commerce sites, and employs Netlify for hosting.
The site created for Kua Coffee is a prime example of the beautifully designed, interactive websites that Little & Big produces with Gatsby. Kua is a six-person charity that strives to improve the sustainability of coffee production and consumption. Little & Big helped refine the organization's brand and create an engaging web presence.
Little & Big created an interactive experience that begins on the Kua home page, where site visitors select the number of coffee cups they drink per day. Visitors learn about the positive impact they can have on people and the environment by choosing Kua Coffee for those cups of coffee.
Site visitors can then buy Kua coffee through an online store built on Shopify. "Recently we've had a lot of interest in developing e-commerce sites," says Pooley. "Integrating Shopify with Gatsby has been super easy, thanks to plugins."
By using Gatsby as the frontend framework for the Kua project, Pooley was able to develop the website rapidly. "Gatsby is just a massive time saver," says Pooley. "It comes with out-of-the-box features that really speed our development process."
Secret (weapon) to success
The performance of the Gatsby-powered Kua site generated Lighthouse scores that helped earn Little & Big one of several awards for mobile excellence. "We wouldn't have won those awards without Gatsby," says Pooley.
As Little & Big continues to grow, the agency is assembling an impressive portfolio of work built with the Gatsby framework — including their agency's own website. "Gatsby is a really important differentiator for us," says Pooley. "As a small, boutique agency, having Gatsby is like having a secret weapon."
To learn more about Little & Big and explore the agency's work, visit: https://www.littleandbig.com.au