Over the last two months, we've teased some of what we want to do to improve the site with a look ahead to our plans in 2017, and we talked more in-depth about that in our series about advertisements last month. Creating a better overall experience for your wikis is our big focus for the first part of 2017, so it stands to reason that you're wondering how we'll do that. Here is an early look at this project for your feedback.
Achieving a better experience for all
Our goal is to become a modern digital experience that provides the right content at the right time, is easy to navigate, and delivers a better experience for both users and advertisers, our two main audiences.
- Users and readers. You're the main reason why we’re running in the first place. And it’s safe to say we all agree that there’s a real imbalance between content and non-content items on a page. The content itself is king and it shouldn’t be any other way.
- Advertisers. We need to provide value to advertisers so we can keep our wikis going strongly and continue to make improvements on features and general site performance. Wiki pages have been a challenge because the design hasn’t changed much since 2010 (and in parallel, many low quality ad products have been added), but advertisers’ expectations definitely have changed. Advertisers are now demanding to have their ads associated with a much cleaner, modern look.
The key thing is that the desire users and readers have to declutter the page so the content shines is also what advertisers are looking for. This common need is at the center of this project, and it's why we're going to be working with you to achieve the right balance of providing advertiser value and a great user experience.
Step One: Videos
There are multiple components we will need to touch in order to achieve that mission, or as we'll refer to it from now on, "modernizing" the wiki experience. These components include relevant videos, quality ads, fast page loads, and easy to find content.
We are starting with video. Why so? By 2020, 80% of internet traffic is expected to come from video. This year, online video ad spending is expected to grow 31%. It's clear the industry, both from a content and advertising perspective, is moving towards video and doing so quickly.
Historically videos haven’t been widely used on wikis, but more and more users are looking for this type of content. This is not about us becoming a video company, but rather about diversifying our content to keep up with user and advertiser expectations.
But we want to do more than just react and keep up with industry trends. Our Modernization efforts are a real opportunity for us:
- By putting high value ads on videos, we can start cleaning up the ad experience. There can be fewer ads on the page in total.
- Removing ads will improve page performance. This is consistently the biggest concern around our ads.
- We can feature relevant videos, created by our video team, that can also be featured on social media and YouTube to bring more readers to your wiki.
- Videos are faster and more engaging to consume for many readers, and offer a new way to discover your content.
In summary, by adding videos, we 1) can clean up the ad clutter on the wiki page by offering relevant videos with high quality ads and 2) can provide an additional content format that users are now looking for. After we achieve these goals, we’ll be able to begin enhancing the rest of the page.
Early video tests
We're currently running a test of a modernized video experience on Harry Potter Wiki, starting with three pages: List of spells, Hogwarts Houses, and Newt Scamander. This represents an early version of the concept, not the final one, and is based off of results from tests run up to this point. We will continue to experiment with various approaches, including the size of the videos and where they live on the page. Those experiments will be based on usage data, feedback from you, and the results of live user testing.
It's also likely that not every page or even every wiki will have a prominent video placement like the Harry Potter examples—video content isn't relevant for every fandom, after all—though we will be testing related video modules across different parts of the site. We think that the amount of pages that do have videos with ads on them will enable us to modernize the entire site, and that's a big part of what we're testing.
We're currently expanding this test to more wikis, and if you would like your wiki to be part of the test please let us know and we’ll review your request. We want wikis that are part of this test to be as involved as they want. Even if the videos are produced by Fandom staff, we want users to be involved in authoring scripts so the content is as authentic as possible.
We'll be setting up a board here on Community Central for more information about this project, including: who is working on it, what our goals are, and how the community will be involved.
This project will allow for a more modern, higher performing experience for Fandom wikis. We are moving ahead with videos as an essential first step in wiki modernization, and how the videos are used on the page will need a lot of your feedback.
We are improving how we work with your feedback so this project can be as inclusive as possible. Our approach to this project is step-by-step rather than creating a whole product before gathering your feedback, so there will be more opportunities for you and all of the test wikis to help shape the final implementation. We'll be talking a lot about how and why feedback is used and, in some cases, why it isn't used. That way, there's a larger window into our decision-making process.
With that, if you have any questions or feedback about wiki modernization, please let us know!
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