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Darwin - The Next Evolution of Wikia

BertH August 22, 2013 User blog:BertH Google
Darwin BlogHeader

Wikia communities are evolving every day: fresh content is added, new fans participate for the first time, and seasoned experts find different ways to share their knowledge. Change and growth is at the heart of Wikia, and the platform for all of this amazing collaboration must also keep evolving. We’ve been listening to your feedback and collecting usage data about what works in our current product, and where we can make improvements to Wikia's look and feel. After taking a hard, honest look at all of this information, it’s time to start bringing those improvements to life with an initiative we’re calling Darwin.

Darwin will be an ongoing project to improve on a set of goals that are important to all of us: optimizing the user experience no matter what size screen you're using; showcasing the incredible content that draws people to Wikia; increasing contributions and helping communities to grow; and helping fans and readers find the things that they're passionate about. There are several areas of Wikia that we will be focusing on as part of this initiative so the work will be divided into stages. These stages will include new features, design updates and adjustments.  Darwin will not be a single set of updates occuring at one time, but an iteration of Wikia into a more flexible and engaging platform.

What will we see first?

FluidDarwin

The first stage of Darwin lays the groundwork for the others by adapting the underlying framework of Wikia to meet the viewing needs of all users. We want to better support readers and contributors with larger monitor resolutions, while recognizing the ever-growing number of tablet users in our audience. The solution is responsive web design in a fluid layout that detects screen resolution and delivers an ideal experience using that information. Content is rightfully the heart of Wikia, after all — it’s what we’re all here for: reading, creating, editing, and administering the information you care about. Pages that place more focus on the content is a request we've heard time and time again, so content space is the priority in this shift to a fluid layout.

These Forum threads go into more detail about the specific changes that are part of this first stage:

Moving forward

For each stage of Darwin, we will first release the updates to the Darwin Community and to Community Test. This will allow everyone on Wikia to check out what's new and give feedback, and it will give us time to incorporate that feedback before moving on to the next stage. This process will repeat with each stage of Darwin, until it makes sense to roll out the whole set of changes to everyone. We will only release Darwin's updates to all communities when we've had a chance to understand users' experiences and do some fine tuning.

Users are involved at every stage. The Wikia Community Council has and will continue to provide early feedback to our product and design teams. We want to thank them for their feedback and insight. Several communities have also graciously volunteered to be early testers to help us gather usage feedback, and we'll be working closely with them in the coming months. The global release dates for these changes are still to be determined; we will only release when we're confident that the time is right.

Where can I find the latest information on Darwin?

Each stage of Darwin will include updates in staff blog posts and Community Central Forum threads discussing the changes in detail. We'll also provide details and instructions through Help:Darwin and how-to videos.

Further, the navbox below is your hub for everything Darwin. Visit Darwin.wikia.com to see the latest changes we've released (starting today!) and Community Test to create your own content in the updated layout. Give us feedback anywhere you see an invitation to do so – we want to hear from you! We're excited about what's coming, and we hope you are too.

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