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Sneak Peek at the New Look - Your Personal Toolbar

Sannse September 3, 2010 User blog:Sannse Google

thumb|400px|right|The toolbar in action.We've talked a lot about how the new look is designed to attract new readers and editors to Wikia, and help them get started with wikis. But many of us working at Wikia are quite far from being newbies - key members of our product and design team are long-time editors, with hundreds of thousands of edits between them.

In my case, I started editing on Wikipedia in 2002, and have been heavily involved in wiki communities ever since. I'm someone who spends all day on wikis, and the sort of person who wants all the specialized tools and special pages that the MediaWiki software provides.

So when designing the new Wikia, we wanted to make sure that the new look will work for people like us - experienced users. People who are on Wikia every day need easy access to tools for managing an active wiki. A brand-new wiki visitor isn't going to understand the importance of the system messages page or the list of uncategorized templates, but these are useful tools for expert users.

That's why we created My Tools, which appears in the bottom toolbar. When you click on it, it opens up a menu of tools that you can customize to include all the special pages that you use the most. My own current menu, for example, includes "Special pages", "New pages", "New photos", and "User list".

The toolbar floats with you as you scroll down the page, so you've always got it in view when you need it. (Watch the demo video to see exactly how this works.) This is a style that we are using for the edit bar already, which has worked well. On the new toolbar, the customized menu stays the same as you move from one wiki to another, so you have access to the same tools even when you're not on your "home" wiki.

The My Tools feature is something that I'm particularly enjoying as I adapt to using the new beta Wikia. I think it's something that's going to be very useful to our expert users.

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