The Wick Editor is Wrapping up our Mozilla Open Source Support Grant
This year has been incredible for the Wick Editor. With our Mozilla Open Source Support grant, we’ve been able to tackle so many problems facing our tool and community, while creating a better experience for beginners looking to create their first animations, games and interactive projects! Here’s what we were able to do.
What have we made?
The new Wick Editor 1.0
We’ve spent the last year working with hundreds of beginner animators, students, teachers, and curious creators to create the new Wick Editor 1.0 interface. With the help of our designer Anna Gusman, we were able to create the new editor.
After dozens of in-person sessions, and a full year of development, we’re confident this new editor is more approachable, and accessible to beginners. From the careful use of text and heavy reliance on iconography, to the simplified color palette, we’ve found that beginners can start creating in the new editor with very little instruction! Here’s the legacy editor for comparison.
The new editor also comes with a brand new, heavily tested engine, and utilizes some really great modern web technologies, like React. This has improved our development experience immensely, making it much simpler to add new features, tune existing features, and quickly fix bugs that our community alerts us too.
You can try the new editor at www.wickeditor.com.
A new, more inviting, website.
To match our new editor, we’ve got a new website that showcases brand new examples, learning content, and will soon feature community content!
Our new website aims to feature community and introductory content front and center, providing a pathway for new users to start making their first projects, without feeling intimidated. It’s important to us that the Wick Editor editor community focuses on bringing in new beginners, and helping them build their skills!
New Tutorial and Example Content
Our grant also provided us with the opportunity to expand our learning content. We’ve created over twenty new tutorial videos that will be released over the next month! We’ve also posted several new examples for users to experiment with.
Our tutorials will cover topics from how to use the advanced drawing tool options, to how to upload your projects to sharing sites. We’ve made sure to have these cover a wide range of experience levels.
What are our biggest takeaways?
Our Userbase is Growing
More Users, Education is a Standout: Over the last year, we’ve seen an organic growth to our user base, reaching over 100,000 users! In particular, we’ve seen a huge growth in users coming from education. This has prompted us to start creating more content for educators to use in traditional school settings. These users also tend to use the editor at longer rates than previous users.
Our Users are Coming from More Countries: Our users have also started to come from more countries than ever before (194!). This is an incredible amount of outreach, but also puts us in a position where we need to consider the way we distribute the Wick Editor. In particular, creating a downloadable editor which would allow users from countries that do not have strong, consistent internet connections, as well as users from more rural areas of well connected countries, to easily access the tool is high on our priority list.
New Development and Design Strategies
Design Strategies: Developing our new design has affirmed our commitment to frequent, in-person user testing to validate our design concepts. Throughout this grant, we have run dozens of in-person workshops and creation jams and have used these to validate our interface concepts, implementation, and informed how we design our learning materials. With the help of our designer, we were also able to create a set of unified style guideline for both our brand, and the editor.
Development Strategies: Prior to our MOSS grant, our development strategies weren’t very consistent. Previous versions of the Wick Editor had no tests, releases were produced haphazardly, the GUI and engine code were often interdependent, and a considerable number of libraries used in the editor were overly-custom. Learning from this, we took the 1.0 editor as an opportunity to correct several of these problems. This included decoupling the wick engine and editor GUI, creating a testing system for the engine with nearly 400 tests, utilizing React for the interface, and ensuring we utilize existing maintained libraries wherever possible. This has led to a much more manageable development process, and significantly fewer surprises when producing a major release.
We’re working on different outreach strategies: Over this year, we’ve ran several creation jams both in-person and online, workshops for students and teachers, commissions and contracts for artists using the Wick Editor, and have attended several conferences. We’ll be looking for new partners and outreach opportunities as we move forward!
And that wraps up our MOSS grant! It’s been an incredible year, and we are very excited to see where the new Wick Editor 1.0 takes our project and community. Thanks so much to Mozilla for making this happen!
If you’d like to support the Wick Editor, become a patron on our Patreon.