Why did Wikia make the decision to build the new look?

Because it’s the right thing to do for the future of Wikia. We understand the caution of many of those who have commented on the blogs, but we also kept in mind that this is just one of the many groups or types of users on Wikia. We looked at feedback from the beta testers, from focus groups and direct measurements of activity on wikis, and listened to our in-house experts in web design and user interaction. We did our best to gather *all* the information we needed to make this the best look possible for Wikia, and we feel confident in our choices.

Why does Wikia's design look more like that of other websites?

There are always some similarities among websites that have modern, frequently updated design. In other words, when companies use best practices for the web and adapt to what users demand, their websites tend to contain similar design elements and functionality. The current modern look is to appear clean and bright with horizontal navigation and fixed width. However, that layout still leaves plenty of room for individual stylistic choices; your customizations and color choices will give your wiki its own special look and feel.

Why is the new look required for my wiki?

The main reason for requiring everyone to move to the new look is that it’s simply not practical or economical for us to maintain and develop features for multiple skins. As we create new features, or update existing ones, we will only be doing so for the new look and Monaco will be left behind. This will especially be an issue when we upgrade to Mediawiki 1.16. This upgrade will involve checking each feature against the new code, and we don’t have the capacity to do that twice!

We recognize that some people would rather use the unsupported version of Monaco, but one of our biggest goals is to provide a consistent, high quality experience for all users, and we believe having everyone on the new look is the right way to do this.

What about the Vector skin?

Vector is Wikipedia’s default skin, and as we’re not them, we won’t be using Vector on Wikia.

What about Monobook?

There are currently a few wikis using Monobook. When we transition from Monaco to the upgraded version of Wikia, we will not be including wikis that use Monobook to parody Wikipedia, namely Uncyclopedia and its sister projects. We will also continue, for now, to support the skin as a personal (viewing) choice for those readers that have a strong preference. However, many of the new features we will be creating for the new design will not work in Monobook.

How long will Wikia support Monobook?

As noted above, we are keeping Monobook for the time being as an admin option for Uncyclopedia and its sister projects. We are also allowing it as a personal user choice, for those that prefer to view Wikia sites in that format. However, we as a company cannot afford to continue to support older versions of our design. If we allowed all outdated skins, there would be at least 5 very different looks in which our technical and community teams would have to invest time and energy. Monaco is also by nature a complex, sophisticated skin that requires more resources to run correctly.

How long will Wikia support Monaco?

At this time, the new look will be rolled out according to the following schedule:

October 6, 2010
  • The new look will continue to be default for logged-out users on the beta wikis
  • All logged in users will be able to “switch on” the new look for themselves on any wiki they visit.
  • All new wikis created will automatically use the new look.
  • Every wiki in the Wikia Lifestyle Hub will showcase the new look.
October 20, 2010
  • All users will see the new look on every wiki.
  • Logged in users will have the temporary option of viewing and editing wikis in Monaco.
November 3, 2010
  • The option to use Monaco will be removed.

Please note that this timeline does not include non-English wikis, which will require translation. We will announce the international transition plan in the coming weeks.

How did advertising impact Wikia's decision?

Ads are an integral part of Wikia as they provide the revenue with which we operate. The new look is focused on enhancing the user experience and functionality on wikis. Ad modules were considered in the design but were not the primary focus of the change.

What are the technical specifications, such as logo size, width, or modules?

We expect to be making adjustments to the prototype as we go through testing. This means that we can’t give you technical specifications on the final design yet. We will make these specifications available to you as they are finalized.

What is the bar at the top of the screen?

One problem we’ve seen on Wikia is that people often don’t realize what wikis are available on Wikia. This Wikia navigation is intended to help visitors find and discover wikis that they may be interested in.

Does the new look use comments or talk pages?

Both comments and talk pages will be fully incorporated into the new look. The link will go to whichever is active for that wiki -- that’s usually comments for very new wikis, and talk pages for older ones.