In March we tested a brand new design for the page and article headers, the area of wiki pages that includes wiki navigation and important article actions like the Edit button. The test involved targeting users with the new and old designs to see how each one impacted traffic and how visitors use the site. Before the test started, we hadn't updated the header area since 2011. It looked out of date, lacked a modern feel, and left a lot to be desired.
We're happy to say that the test was a huge success and we're releasing the new headers on all FANDOM wikis during the week of June 12th!
How did the tests perform?
Community feedback was very positive, and so was the data we collected. The community response was so positive that we kept the test headers up even after we had enough data to make a decision. Many of you even asked to join the tests over the last several weeks, which was great to see.
On our 30 test wikis we saw an increase in page views per session (average number of pages read by users in a visit to the site), a decrease in bounce rate (percent of users who land on the site and leave after seeing only one page), and an increase in session length (average time spent by users on a visit to the site) when compared to the existing page header. That means readers much preferred the new, modern design, which was evident in both their words and in the actions they took on the site. Additionally, we know that advertisers place much more value on ads on premium sites, which gives us the opportunity to have fewer and higher quality ads across the site. The better looking a site is, the more likely visitors are to spend time on it and the more likely advertisers are to work with us on a better ad experience.
Are there any new changes? The test header was very successful, but we did decide to make a few changes based on your feedback and user engagement data. Here is a mockup of the final version:
So what's different in this version compared to the test version?
- More Logged-In Functionality. For logged in users, the page header will include a shortcut to the Admin Dashboard next to the Wiki Activity button. We will offer more customization of this area by logged-in users in the future.
- Customization. The Theme Designer will be updated so admins can upload a header image and have greater control of the header colors. Outside of the Theme Designer, we've decided that, in order to maintain a consistently modern look across FANDOM, we won't be allowing most forms of CSS/JS customization of the header. You can read more about this decision here. If you have ideas for additional Theme Designer options, let us know!
- Categories. We're continuing to study how categories perform as navigational tools in the article header, in addition to remaining at the bottom of the page. However, Main Pages will no longer display categories.
- The "Discuss" Button. If a wiki has Discussions enabled but not Forum, "Discuss" will lead to Discussions. If Discussions and Forum are both enabled, "Discuss" will lead to Discussions while Forum will appear in the "Explore" menu. If Forum is enabled but not Discussions, "Discuss" leads to the Forum. If neither feature is enabled, "Discuss" will not appear.
Bugs that appeared in the test version have also been fixed. These include the missing redirect links in the article header and "Back to page" not appearing in history pages.
What are the next steps?
When the headers are enabled, there will still be a couple more things we will be finishing to bring them to the entire FANDOM experience.
- Mobile. We're building a version of the headers for mobile devices, which will enhance navigation for mobile users and bring more visual consistency between the mobile and desktop views.
- Discussions. Our Wiki Modernization team is working with our Discussions developers to bring the page header to Discussions, creating more consistency between the wiki and Discussions experience.
We're thrilled that the community response to the headers has been so positive, and we share your excitement to see it released on the entire site. Let us know if you have any questions or additional feedback in the comments, and we'll be happy to answer them!
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