Heath Ceramics


AOE built a completely new E-Commerce experience for the American porcelain manufacturer Heath Ceramics, focusing on improving user-friendliness and scalability. The project was realized based on the TYPO3 CMS and the Enterprise Edition of the E-Commerce platform Magento.

Heath Ceramics Case Study
Size: 1.43 MB | Date: 21.12.2016

Heath Ceramics is one of the very few mid-century American porcelain manufacturers still in operation. Since 1948, the company has been making dishes and ceramic tiles by hand in Sausalito, CA. Founder Edith Heath was an influential artist and modernistic designer. Today, the digital age and traditional craftsmanship meet at Heath. To improve its existing online shop the company contracted AOE, a system integrator specializing in content management and E-Commerce, with locations all around the world including San Francisco, California.


The former Heath Ceramics web shop was no longer at the cutting edge in terms of user-friendliness, filtering options, or features. Heath sought a supplier who not only brought technical expertise to the table, but also a high affinity for design. The renowned agency Method was chosen for the redesign. For Heath Ceramics, AOE integrated the Content Management System (CMS) TYPO3 and the Enterprise Edition of Magento, an Open Source E-Commerce platform. Method’s truly innovative design required many custom modifications to both systems. AOE successfully met the extraordinary challenge of seamlessly integrating CMS and E-Commerce platform with absolute flexibility, thus meeting Heath’s complex requirements.


The specifics:

  • For portal structure and editorial content there is an autonomous TYPO3 implementation
  • Magento adopts this structure and adds categories such as “Bowls”, “Plates” and “Glassware”, as well as collections such as “Plaza Line”, supplements the navigation und renders it
  • The pages migrated to Magento extract content from TYPO3 via a widget. This connector for importing individual pages and their content into the Magento web shop was developed especially for Heath Ceramics
  • Heath Ceramics can configure each page as desired to publish only TYPO3 content, only web shop content, or a mix of both

AOE extended the Magento web service interfaces to integrate fully with SAP, which Heath uses for importing product data as well as for the export of orders.

The project also features other usability highlights. For example, at the customer’s request a Custom Color Family filter and “Some included” view were added to the filter features provided by Magento. The Custom Color Family filter lets users sort the product overview by color family instead of specific colors, which reduces the number of color choices to a manageable number and makes life easier for both user and online shop administrator. The unusual “Some included” view, in the form of a semi-full bullet point, shows whether a product is included in a category or collection. For example, if one filters for blue bowls, then one sees that they are available in all collections except “Alabama Chanin” and are also included in the categories “Accessories” and “Serving”.

Heath customers can also set up wedding registries. AOE modified the Magento standard module significantly to let registry owners see which products have already been purchased. In addition, a flexible registry was implemented that allows registry owners to redeem the purchased product value in the form of a coupon for other products if their wishes change.

Last but not least, the Mix-and-Match feature lets customers assemble their own sets and receive discounts on them, making the new Heath Ceramics online shop a carefree package for users and portal administrator alike.

Business Benefits

  • Product filters: Innovative filter features that meet customers’ demands, e.g. sorting products by color family instead of specific colors, or a special view that shows whether a product is included in the collection
  • Registries: Heath customers can maintain complex wedding registries. Registry owners can easily see which products have already been purchased
  • Coupon: Using flexible registries, customers can convert merchandise value into coupons, should their preferences change


AOE implemented Method’s elaborate design concept while retaining maximum usability and adaptability. The result is a visually sophisticated, user-friendly web shop that can be flexibly maintained with significantly less effort.

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Web CMS, Web Application, E-Commerce, Search,
Industry & Manufacturing,
March 2012