We had a big product goal in 2017: Ensure that FANDOM is a modern digital experience that provides the right content at the right time, is easy to navigate, and delivers a better experience for users and advertisers. We called this project Wiki Modernization, which saw the introduction of Featured Videos, the redesign of the page and article headers, and a 30% reduction in advertisements across all wikis.

We're excited to share the results of those efforts and introduce one of our first modernization efforts of 2018!

Page load time decrease

As a result of video and design changes, we introduced a new ad layout that achieved a pretty significant reduction in page load times! Check out this graph, which shows the change in average page load times on desktop worldwide from January 2015 through December 2017:

Page load time percentage changes

Using the page load time in January 2015 as a baseline, this graph shows the increases and decreases in desktop page load time over the last 3 years.

The significant drop began in July 2017, when we began rolling out the new ad layout. By October, the layout was live throughout the world. All told, load times dropped 46% from the beginning to the end of 2017. This is a significant improvement that will have long-lasting benefits for your communities as people are able to more easily engage with your content!

There is always more work to do of course, and 2018 is shaping up to be another big year for modernization. So what's next?

A focus on mobile web

Modernization in 2017 mostly focused on desktop, and now we're ready to turn a lot of attention toward Mobile Modernization. Given that mobile web users made up more than 60% of our total traffic in the last three months of 2017, it's more important than ever to bring the same level of effort and coordination to enhance our mobile web experience.

Like with last year's Wiki Modernization, our aim is to improve page load time and properly balance the impact of ads. We've already studied how Mobile Modernization will impact SEO and our underlying site architecture. We also took a hard look at the types of mobile ad providers that we work with. A better mobile experience means we have more opportunities to work directly with advertisers rather than third party networks, which will allow us to reduce the low-performing and often low quality ads that display on mobile web.

Will there be design changes to the mobile experience? It's quite possible, but the initial work in 2018 will remain very focused on site performance. This can result in some minor changes to the user experience. For example, we recently set all sections on a mobile article page to be collapsed by default, a quick way to improve loading time for the page. This also serves to give readers a quick way to, essentially, view the Table of Contents for a long page. This is an overall better experience for longer wiki pages.

This is the direction we're headed in for 2018 Mobile Modernization, and we're hard at work at putting these ideas into more concrete plans. We'll continue to update you as we have more information, so keep checking back on Community Central for more updates!

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