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Your First Look at the New Wikia

Sannse August 17, 2010 User blog:Sannse Google

A few weeks ago, we announced that there were changes coming to the Wikia interface -- that our team was combining insights from user testing, click tracking, community member feedback and putting our minds together to come up with an amazing new look for Wikia. We've brought all of our ideas together in a working prototype that's ready for beta testing and here's the first look...

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New Wikia layout going into beta testing next week. (click here for the logged out view)

Here are some highlights:

  • Navigation: We’ve made it clearer and more focused and introduced better navigation between wikis. This prototype has a horizontal navigation that’s easy to find and easy to use as visitors move around your wiki.
  • Layout. We’ve given the site a cleaner layout, with fixed page width, new fonts, and a right-hand column. We’ll be developing handy new modules for the right column as well as a new tool to help you easily customize your color scheme.
  • Community activity. We want visitors to understand that wikis are ever-changing, collaborative communities. New users aren’t always aware of where to look for activity, so we developed tools to better surface all of your contributions and interactions. We will be watching closely how they perform in beta testing.
  • Toolbar. We’re experimenting with a toolbar that anchors at the bottom of your screen and stays with you as you scroll -- so you’ll never be without it! This will contain some popular tools and a customizable section for your personal tool choices.
  • Notifications. The toolbar also functions as your Notification Center. Notices here will tell you when you have new messages from other members, admins on your wiki, or from us.

What happens now?Edit

We’ve come a long way, but there is still work to do. We’ll soon be kicking off several weeks of limited beta testing followed by an open beta. If you haven’t yet submitted your application to participate in the limited beta, it’s not too late!

We know you’ll have a LOT of questions, so we’ve created an initial FAQ for your reference. We’ll continue to update it as questions roll in, so be sure to check back to stay informed.

Since there is so much to share with you about the new design, we'll continue to post feature updates here on the staff blog. Thanks for all your excitement (and patience) -- we’re looking forward to the next step!

UpdateEdit

As we look at all of the comments, it is clear there are a few recurring themes. While we don’t yet know the answer to some of your questions, we’ve updated the FAQ and provided more details where we can.

We do want to address the most frequent question: “Why is the new look mandatory?” We completely understand why you would like this change to be optional -- it’s always nice to be able to choose. But the new look is not simply a new skin option, it’s the upgraded version of Wikia. We’ve designed it for a number of reasons, and we are dedicating both technical and community resources to its development and support to create the best possible user experience. This means, however, that users on older, unsupported skins will have style and content conflicts on individual wikis and across Wikia. While we know that customization and individuality are at the heart of every great wiki, we strongly believe that it’s important for wikis on Wikia to share a common foundation, and that all users -- new or old, reader or editor -- should have a consistent experience.

You will have plenty of time to adapt your wiki to the new look. We are rolling out the new version in phases, and will provide help and migration resources along the way. We’ll also be providing weekly snapshots and details on its new features -- many of which will give you a deeper understanding of the new design and answer some of the specific questions that have come up in your comments!

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