Case study: Lone Wolf Comic

Two months ago I wrote a post about WordPress and images and it made me think about one of my side projects, let’s face it creating four sizes takes time which I could use differently like relaxing or reading work related article. At the same time Lone Wolf Comic‘s theme was almost two years old which is an indicator that I should make a redesign or at least re-align because my design skills are somewhere else and so are current web design trends. The only thing which delayed the redesign was the idea of moving the content between two different post formats.

lwc-614 – analysis

Old Lone Wolf Comic logoThe older theme wasn’t bad of itself but some features were outdated and didn’t make sense. I could’ve kept or edit a bit the logo. The main change there would be conversion from PNG format to proper SVG and making it responsive on command.

lwc-516

Design requirements

The requirements remained the same:

  • Responsive image for the comic strip
  • WordPress theme
  • Area for author’s comments and description
  • About page

Changes between lwc-614 and 516?

There was a font change from ‘Delius Swash Caps’ to ‘Fredericka the Great’ for the logo and headings and ‘Cabin’ for the text. The reason behind this was better readability and different design taste compared to two years ago. Delius belongs to the category of handwriting/display fonts which might have been a good thought at the time but Cabin felt more appropriate.

There is now a side bar with links to the archive and other places with me, aka shameless promotion.

lwc-516 doesn’t use custom post type ‘Comic Strip’ and there is no need for Advanced Custom Fields.

What remained?

The color scheme is mostly the same because I didn’t find a good enough reason to change it. Also there is something intriguing to using mostly black and white color schemes when it has to carry content with color. It doesn’t clash with the comic strip.

URLs. This might seem like an afterthought or engineering question but I believe that this is an important design decision. There were three options:

  1. Keep URLs
  2. Change URLs
  3. Let WordPress handle it like it wants

Changing URLs and letting WordPress handle it were out of the question because all the links which pointed to the content would be now broken. Luckily WordPress allows to modify permalinks quite easily in the settings page (‘Settings’ -> ‘Permalinks’) I had to set custom structure to ‘/comic/%postname%/’.

The reason why is that custom post types (CPT) in WordPress don’t have the same URL structure as posts. CPTs have their own place, usually slug/cpt-name 1. Also they don’t appear on the same URL as posts in URL feed.

What is new?

One thing which is completely new is the use of OptionTree. I didn’t work with this WordPress plugin before. I used it to add links to my shameless self-promotion because they may or may not change and it’s easier to deal with them this way than to hard code them into the theme. Also I could have try something new.

Conclusion

There are things which I consider changing or adding, like 404 page, but overall I am happy with it for the time being.

  1. slug refers to URL friendly name. Example ‘Sarah Gebauer Theme’ could transformed into ‘sgt’ or ‘Sarah-Gebauer-Theme’