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Thoughts, Feedback & Fixes Around the Admin Dashboard Rollout

Meighan August 9, 2011 User blog:Meighan

We have had lots of feedback since our launch of Admin Dashboard, last Thursday night. Many of you are upset and we understand. To put it frankly, we could have handled this roll out better. We didn’t give you enough information about the changes that were coming or what would affect you and your wikis to better prepare you. We see how frustrating that was. We’ve had internal meetings and discussions most of Friday and today on how we could have done things differently and the areas we didn’t handle well. Those are:

  • My blog post, New Tools to Start & Grow Your Wiki was not clear about the changes you would see to your UI, especially within Recent Changes. Had the blog post been more informative -- your opinions could have been raised about the changes via comments before we released this. You also could have planned for and made the necessary changes to custom CSS/JS in your wiki.
  • We flipped it on without giving you proper warning (again, my blog post was not clear about this). A site wide message should have gone out giving you a heads up that the changes were happening.
  • A Thursday night release was not enough time to handle feedback and make immediate changes. This left you as users in a bad place all weekend.

Overall communication and open dialogue with you, as users, is really important to us. This release was not a good example of how we want that dialogue to go. We apologize for that.

Now that being said, we have taken everyone’s feedback into serious consideration and as I mentioned above have had many discussions around the feedback we received. Below we go over some of the areas that have gotten the most feedback and what our plan is going forward.

Adding navigation and Search back into Special PagesEdit

We’re adding navigation and Search back into Special Pages. These were important elements that were removed with this release and we got a lot of very valid feedback. As a quick, temporary fix we’ve added Search into the Admin Dashboard sidebar. This change will be available on your wikis this Wednesday morning. A better, more permanent solution is to add navigation and Search back into Special Pages, which we’ll be doing. We’re going to make those changes in the next couple of weeks, rather than taking the more permanent steps of removing the whole feature or making it a preference forever.

Admin Dashboard Sidebar on Special PagesEdit

While the sidebar makes a lot of sense in the Admin Dashboard General and Advanced tab views it’s not currently something you need to see on every Special Page. So, with that in mind, we will be removing the sidebar from Special Pages in the next couple of weeks as well. You’ll still be able to view the sidebar in the Admin Dashboard General and Advanced tab views, just not on the Special Pages.

Making Admin Dashboard OptionalEdit

We won’t be making the Admin Dashboard optional, or as a a preference. If the Admin Dashboard is disabled your experience will be different than on any other wiki. More importantly we want to work with you, making this the most useful experience it can be. This means we need your continued feedback about what would help you -- which you can't give if you don't have it enabled.

Theming in the Admin DashboardEdit

We’ve also heard your feedback about the theming within the Admin Dashboard. You’ve made some great points that the current consistent theming across all wikis can be too jarring when paired up with some wikis colors. The idea behind using consistent colors was to differentiate wiki tools from wiki content pages. We think that idea still has merit, but agree that the current colors don’t work for everyone. We’re going to add in more of the wiki theme colors -- most likely wiki page background. The header of area of the Admin Dashboard will stay a globally consistent color (meaning not using the wiki theme) but we’ll work on adding more logic in to make the header and sidebar less jarring depending on the colors of your wiki.

Please remember this is the first release, with more changes to come. And yes, it’s been a rocky one but keep in mind this version is just in its beginning stages, with your feedback we can make it work for everyone. We ask for your patience in this process. As I mentioned above, we've been in ongoing discussions since Friday with Product and Community and we’ve made what we believe to be relevant changes to address some of your concerns that have been voiced. I have closed the comments on New Tools to Start & Grow Your Wiki so we can start a new dialogue here.

Addendum 8/17/11Edit

Hi all, I'm adding an addendum here, as mentioned below for the expected changes in today's code push:

The Admin Dashboard will be changing to include wiki navigation: "Random Page", "Wiki Activity" and the search box. As we've made these changes -- we removed the "Back to Dashboard" and "Exit" links from the header. You can now click on the words "Admin Dashboard", the "General tab", or the "Advanced tab" to get back to the main dashboard view. Clicking on the wiki wordmark will take you to the wiki's main page.

We've removed the Admin Dashboard sidebar from displaying on Special Pages. The sidebar will still display when you view the "General tab" or the "Advanced tab", but Special Pages that display within the Admin Dashboard header will no longer display the sidebar.

Changes around the themeing will happen over the next few weeks. As soon as we have a good solution we'll be making changes to it.

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