All of Wikia is now fully migrated on to Mediawiki 1.16 (yay!), so you probably have already noted some changes. Many of these are related to the upgraded software (and you can find more details here), but you also may notice a couple of design tweak as well -- a smaller global header, and clearer formatting for the Recent Wiki Activity box.miss

The global header was introduced with Wikia’s new look. Since then we have been conducting user testing and collecting community feedback, and have now released a new smaller and higher positioned global header. We hope that this helps showcase more content above the fold, while continuing to encourage visitors to explore across Wikia.

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Mass Effect Wiki -- at the top!

We also recently improved SEO of photos. Before, it was rare to see a Wikia photo in image search results, so to improve this we modified two areas. From the crawler's perspective, photos now link directly to the file rather than a file page. We also now automatically add HTML data to image markup that better allows search engines to interpret the information there. So far, these changes look to have been very successful, and we are seeing more image searches leading back to wikis.

Tomorrow we will also be releasing a few other adjustments:

  • We are trialing a new layout to the photo uploader that allows you to add a caption without a second step. Look for this on the Twilight and True Blood wikis.
  • We have re-factored the backend of comments to make pages with a many comments load faster.
  • We are introducing an easier unsubscribe for all emails - this will be rolling out over the next few weeks
  • We've been working on many bug fixes including:
    • Talk pages of user subpages will regain their link
    • Several bugs in the Rich Text Editor - including the display of contextual menus in Chrome, problems with complex links to subpages and the text colour in menus for dark wikis
  • "Read More" will exclude hidden categories

We have many new product ideas and improvements for 2011, but on the near horizon we hope to release the upgraded toolbar, with many more options and customizations, and an improved polls feature.

Thanks for all of your patience and bug reports during the Mediawiki 1.16 upgrade, and as always, we will keep you up to date here on the staff blog!

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