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A couple months back, I wrote a very long (but relevant and interesting!) blog entitled Why Wikia Evolves, in which I explained why Wikia can't sit still and why we're always trying to stay ahead of technological changes.
As part of that effort, we released a new markup for infoboxes a couple months ago. The TL;DR there: half of your traffic is coming from mobile devices these days, and fans who use them should have the best possible experience when they visit.
The first iteration of Portable Infoboxes was what product managers call a "Minimum Viable Product," or "MVP" for short, and hundreds of communities took our first-pass idea of how to improve infoboxes and ran with it. We’ve seen some really impressive uses of the new infobox code, and they render on non-desktop devices beautifully. As we’ve continued to build out the product, we have some new developments that I wanted to give everyone a heads-up on. First up: the Portability Hub!
Portability.wikia.com is a community we're building out as a one-stop shop for all things mobile and portable. We've teamed with the community to showcase portability best practices, insights from users and admins about why mobile content is important, and mobile-friendly templates to help get you started. Go take a look and feel free to add, modify, and share as you see fit.
As promised when we announced this initiative, we've also scheduled Office Hours with Wikia engineers and product managers. They'll be available live for one hour per week (and sporadically throughout the week) to answer mobile content-related questions on the Portability Hub's forum section. We're getting them started on Thursday, November 19th at 11am EST/4pm UTC.
We have some product updates too - first, a native Infobox tabber!
I'll admit that I personally didn't understand how critical tabbing was to so many communities' infoboxes! Luckily, our product managers are fantastic, and they developed this quite elegant solution. "Tabbing" doesn't translate to mobile very well, so this markup turns your tabbed images into a scrollable gallery. You can take a look at it here, and there’s a forum discussion of the feature here.
Next is collapsible sections!
From a practical perspective, these are great for controlling the look and feel of your community's top half. The markup is quite simple, too. There’s a discussion about the new markup here - you can check out the raw markup here and see a finished product here.
With both of those changes, we've listened to community feedback, and our product team has worked to give users the tools they need. This is all thanks to your active participation and feedback, which we're incredibly grateful for. Please keep it coming.
Finally, theming. We heard a lot about how you wished there were an easier, more responsive tool to theme your infoboxes. So our team developed a simple tool for importing, designing, and previewing themes. You can find it here. Give it a shot - you can import your own templates, of course, but if you like another wikia's design, you can import their CSS too and modify it for yourself. Just be sure to give them attribution in the edit summary!
As I said in my original blog about portability, the trend towards a multi-device world is clear—and it’s unstoppable. That’s why we’re partnering with you to make sure your communities are accessible and gorgeous on every device, no matter how your audience chooses to find you. Head over to the Portability Hub now to take a look at how you can improve your community’s mobile-friendliness, and leave me questions in the comments!
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