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User blog:Brandon Rhea/Wiki Modernization Stage Two: Page and Article Headers

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Wiki Modernization Stage Two: Page and Article Headers

In thinking about Wiki Modernization, we decided to work on several areas of the site to deliver an even greater user experience. The first step of this is cleaning up ad clutter on wiki pages, which we're working on with featured video content.

The second step we are also working on is the page header and article header, areas we identified potential for improvements. The page header includes a wiki's wordmark and local navigation, and the article header includes the page title and Edit button. This is how that space has looked since 2011:

Marvel Database - Current Header

The red box is the current page header. The green box is the current article header.

Early Testing in 2016

Beginning this past December, we tested new designs for the page header on 12 wikis. Before we started, we learned two key things from data testing and in-person user testing:

  1. The local navigation is not what most people use to move around the site. And since that's what it's there for, we think there’s room for improvement.
  2. Logged-in users and logged-out readers use the local navigation differently, since it is often tailored to editors.

Our initial test revealed that changes to the page header do not negatively impact how people find content on a wiki. This shows us there is potential to help readers move around your wiki and read more of your pages.

Modernization Step Two: Page and Article Headers

Using what we learned from the original test, the next step of Wiki Modernization is to redesign the page and article headers. Next week, starting with communities that have joined Wiki Modernization testing, we will begin A/B testing new page and article header designs that we're really excited about:

Marvel Database - New Header

This is the new design for the page and article header, showing the logged-out experience.

This design will ultimately appear across the wiki and on Discussions. We think it will make it easier for people to discover your content, as well as have a greater emphasis on the wiki's identity. The above image shows the logged-out user experience for the new headers. The key differences are about what's most important to both logged-in and logged-out users.

Each group has slightly different needs:

  • Readers generally look for the most important and popular pages. They are far less interested in accessing tools like Wiki Activity or Recent Changes, which can even be confusing to a new reader. We think we can remove that confusion while still giving these users a path to contribute.
  • Editors, on the other hand, use tools to keep track of what's happening on their wiki (Wiki Activity), where to help out (Insights), and find guidelines about style and policies.

We'll be talking more about the differences between readers and editors very soon, as well how that informs many of the steps we're taking in Wiki Modernization.

What Are the Next Steps?

As we test this design we will be looking at two key metrics:

  • How do readers interact with the new headers? We'll look at the number of clicks on header links, as well as how many people use the new headers vs the old ones.
  • What do editors think of the new design? We'll gather feedback and interaction data from you, ask follow-up questions, and do our best to understand your needs. We want a design that works well for everyone.

The headers and video are both important steps to modernizing the site. Just like our ongoing video tests, we will be collaborating with you for your feedback. Would you like to test out the new header design? Let us know and we can review that request.

In the meantime, we're looking forward to your feedback in the comments!

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