When we made the transition to the new look last year, the left rail navigation shifted to top navigation. We received a lot of comments from the community, specifically that top navigation didn't offer enough links to important pages and areas on the wiki. After listening to your feedback and tracking user interaction, we decided to update the current wiki navigation. Today, we're excited to announce that the new navigation is ready for testing.
We created wikinav.wikia.com to provide a safe space to explore and test the new navigation. Any admin can edit the new navigation on this test site.
- Lots more links. In addition to the four Level 1 and seven Level 2 menus that are currently available, the new navigation will add Level 3 menus that can contain up to ten menu items each. This means you can have up to 280 links in your wiki's top level navigation!
- Easy-to-read orientation. To make the Level 2 menu items as easy to read as possible they will be arranged horizontally, from left to right.
- Customizable color. The navigation accent color will be based on the color of your wiki's buttons, and can be updated via the theme designer (or CSS).
- "Contribute" menu. To make the most efficient use of limited screen space, and to group essential editing tools in a single easy-to-find location, we have consolidated several tools in a new "Contribute" menu. This drop-down menu provides quick access to "Edit This Page," "Add a Page," "Add a Photo", and "Wiki Activity" links. Admins will also see a link to edit the wiki navigation on the drop-down menu.
- Improved Preview Tool. An enhanced Preview Tool will display the menu's full navigation structure, links, and colors while you're still editing, so you can make adjustments and refinements before you publish.
- "On the Wiki" tab. This top tab is new, and will open by default when the page loads. Wikia staff will curate these links, which will not be editable by wiki users or admins. Sample menu items will most likely include popular features such as Wiki Activity, Random Page, New Photos, and Chat, etc. If a specific feature is not enabled on your wiki, its link will not appear. We will be testing out which links work best, so please give us specific feedback about what links your wiki would find most useful there.
Since this product is in early release, there are a number of known issues we are working through. The major issues currently include:
- Magic words might produce strange formatting in Level 1 and Level 2 menus. Feel free to experiment, and for best results, use magic words in Level 3 menus.
- Level 1 and Level 2 menu items render horizontally, so long text will be very wide and might distort the formatting of the navigation. If this happens, simply shorten the text and/or restructure the navigation to make the best use of all three levels.
This feature is still in development, so the release schedule is not set in stone. Please start by testing the new navigation at wikinav.wikia.com so you can see it in action. In the next week, we aim to open up testing to test wikis. From there, we'll be rolling it out across new wikis before a larger sitewide release. We'll keep you updated through here on the Staff Blog - and will let you know when further testing is available.
We are currently working on a few additions to the feature:
- Sharing tools with quick access to sharing via email and popular social networks
- Some small visual refinements
If you have initial thoughts, suggestions, or wish-list requests, please leave a comment below — we'll answer your questions and keep you in the loop about technical updates on this blog post.
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October 5 Edit
You can now turn on the wiki nav in the labs section of wiki features (which can be found via the admin dashboard). Happy testing!
October 12 Edit
- Based on your design feedback we have removed the gap between the wiki nav and the top banner ad (or Wikia header when ads are disabled)
- We made a small cosmetic change to the contribute button (arrow has same hover state as whole button)
- We've moved Talk and Like buttons near the Edit button
- Level 2 now does allow the use of the full width of 729 px