The Invisible Art
Over the years I’ve put a lot of hard work into the story and the artwork of the Wormworld Saga Digital Graphic Novel. However, another field in which I invested a lot of time and effort probably gets overlooked by many readers: the design of the website. To be honest, I myself are guilty of overlooking all the hours of coding that went into the Wormworld Saga Website. While I have meticulously documented all my work hours on the graphic novel (at the end of 2020 I tracked 5196 hours), I have actually no idea how much time I spent on hacking new lines of code into the text editor or moving around the bits and pieces of the layout in Photoshop. After 10 years, I thought, it could be interestig to take a step back and have a look at the different iterations the Wormworld Saga Website went through. Every new phase of the project is somewhat reflected in the different versions of the webdesign and each and every one, I found, holds nostalgic memories for me.
| The first version of the Wormworld Saga Website from December 2010. Almost a historic document today. Blogging and RSS were a thing back then and you could collect micro-donations via Flattr.
| The first update of the website put the first chapter into better focus. Also, social media buttons appeared directly on the homepage. I wonder if Stumble Upon and Digg do still exist.
| The first fan translations came in and the social sharing buttons moved into the chapters. I wonder if coloring the Paypal-button red provoked more donations. The print shop has finally opened!
By the way, I don’t have running versions of all the old website versions. The screenshots that are featured in this article are all created from the layout files that were created in Photoshop and then meticulously put together in a text editor. I’m a little bit proud of the fact that the whole Wormworld Saga Website is done by hand. I didn’t use tools like Dreamweaver or any content management tools in the process. That of course means that parts of the website are a little bit clunky - I’m not a coder after all - but without any heavy frameworks in the background, the website is pretty light weight on the code-side. Not on the images-side though...
| In May 2011 the first kickstarter campaign for the Wormworld Saga launched. Also: YouTube!
| At the end of 2011, the second chapter of the Wormworld Saga was released. And you could download the Wormworld Saga App for iPad. Android users still had to wait.
| In April 2012, the third chapter was published and the website grew taller. This gave me the opportunity to put more banners to the left and right of the centre column. Oh, I loved little banners back then!
| Later in 2012, the fourth chapter was published and the website grew taller again. Look at all that sweet advertising space! The "Android Market" became "Google Play" and Google+ started to be a thing. Oh, and another kickstarter campaign launched.
When it was time to publish Chapter 5 of the Wormworld Saga, I realized that my website was too cluttered with all these little panels and banners. I got rid of the translation buttons on the homepage and arranged the chapter covers in a horizontal row. I still couldn’t manage to get rid of all the little banners but it was a step into the right direction.
| 2013 I took my first steps towards a less cluttered homepage. The new Wormworld Shop was a big thing that year.
| 2014 brought the sixth chapter of the Wormworld Saga and a new subscription area called "The Attic".
The Attic subscription area never really worked and around the time I pulled the plug on it, it also turned out that the Wormworld Saga App didn’t make sense anymore. The frequent update cycles of the operating systems on apple and android devices made it too expensive to maintain the app. I was also longing for a simpler design of the website and at some point I decided to get rid of all the small banners and replace them with one big slider banner.
| The website looked much cleaner now. If only blogging would finally stop being a thing...
| In 2015 I eventually stopped blogging and the blog panel disappeared from the website. I launched a Patreon page instead, on which I continued to document the progress of the Wormworld Saga project.
| With the 5th Anniversary Christmas Special, a third row was added to what I call the "chapter shelf". The website was pretty clean now and the actual content was front and center.
| In 2016 I added the big title header. I wanted to make sure that anyone who'd encounter my website could immediately see that he was in for a big adventure.
Another big thing of 2016 was the addition of the “Art of the Wormworld Saga” digital artbook to the website. I created a ton of interesting Making Of content for the Wormworld Saga App. After the app was shut down, I didn’t know what to do with that content. I figured that the Wormworld Saga Website could become the new home for that content and that was the birth of the Patreon login. If you support the Wormworld Saga on Patreon, you can use your Patreon account to log into the Wormworld Saga Website and the special content is unlocked for you.
| In 2018 I introduced the "Patreon Bar" that shows the progress of my ongoing Patreon campaign. I wonder for how long this is going to stay. Things change all the time. Did you notice that the Google+ icon got replaced by Instagram?
I’ve compiled this recap of 10 years of Wormworld Saga web design in late 2020. I guess this little article will soon become a historical document itself. And I guess the Wormworld Saga Website will go through many more changes in the years to come. Websites in themselves are kind of becoming a thing of the past. People spend a lot of their online time on social networks. Things have to move fast in order to capture their attention. I’d like to think of the Wormworld Saga Website as this precious thing, hidden in a dark corner. When you step beside the streamlined experience of sleek and modern web design, when you leave the crowded data highways, when you navigate through the lesser known wrinkles of the internet, you might find a glowing, glittering treasure chest full of adventure: The Wormworld Saga Website.
I'm really happy that YOU found it!
I'm really happy that YOU found it!