Over the weekend, during our Creator Tools presentation at Community Connect, we announced all of the new features we’re going to be rolling out to our editors the rest of this year. Now that you know what to expect in the near feature, we wanted to dive deeper into each feature area to give you a glimpse into what’s coming. We’ll start with the improvements coming to mobile, specifically the Theme Designer and Editing Fixes.
Before getting into that specifically, though, let’s go through some context for why we arrived at the roadmap that we did for Creator Tools.
Creator Roadmap Backstory
Over the last few years, most of our focus has been on the Unified Community Platform, (2019-2021), the Unified Consumer Experience like FandomDesktop (2021), and engagement experimentation (2021). These were all key initiatives for the platform, and new features like what we’re building now would’ve been much more technically challenging. We’ve been invested in the development of creator tools like Interactive Maps and have made significant progress on ongoing bug fixes to support the upcoming improvements and new features. In the middle of 2021 we even introduced a new triage process where we managed to triage 750+ bugs together with Product, Dev, QE, and Community representatives. We’ll have a blog going more in-depth about our themed bug fixing work very soon, including bug fixing coming to Gamepedia wikis.
As the year moves forward, we’re continuing to invest in providing more new features for creators. Historically, Fandom wikis didn’t get many new wiki-oriented features because of how technically complex the legacy platform and the Oasis skin were to develop on, which is an issue UCP and UCX resolved. On the other hand, Gamepedia wikis didn’t get as many new features as they wanted because of resource limitations within Curse. Being part of one platform without all the tech debt the legacy platform incurred promised to deliver that, and we’re excited to be able to deliver on that promise in more ways.
So, over the last several months, our Community, Product, and Engineering teams got together to figure out a roadmap to provide creators with new and improved tools. We initially started from the premise that “the platform is buggy” as that’s something we’ve heard from community members. A review of our backlog showed it’s in the best shape it’s been in years, but something still had to explain why community members felt that way. Perception is reality, after all, and people were definitely feeling that as their reality. What we determined was that there were a lot of quality of life issues on the platform, or gaps in functionality, that made the site seem buggy and that all added up to be a larger pain point - “death by a thousand cuts.”
So we decided to scour all the different feedback channels we’ve used over the last couple of years. We took feedback we’ve received in community roundtables, editor surveys, user research, Community Council feedback, and more to come up with a roadmap we felt confident that we could execute on with the time and resources we have available. And throughout all that feedback, we’ve heard that mobile editing is an extreme pain point so it was a natural project to work on.
And in general it’s important that we provide value to our core community and deliver updates that will make your editing experience easier. With the mobile improvements coming, we hope to provide more customizable solutions without the glitches editors experience on the mobile editor and provide a better user experience.
Mobile Editing Fixes
Fandom uses the default MediaWiki mobile editor, just like Wikipedia and other wiki-based sites, but we think we can make some improvements to it. Right now, there are a number of glitches associated with the mobile editing experience. We’re not creating a new mobile editor, but tackling things like quality of life and moderation improvements. The addition of a mobile preview will be a major change to what's currently available. We're also going to make moderation easier for creators with things like better utility for mobile page history and making it easier to undo/revert changes you’ve made to the page.
There’s no timeline for when this will be released, as it will be a series of multiple improvements over the rest of the year. But we’ll be sure to announce releases as they happen so you’re kept up to date!
Mobile Theme Designer
Right now when you go to FandomMobile, it’s just a white page. There’s not even the option for light and dark mode like there is on FandomDesktop. The community has asked for years whether customization of mobile, even something basic like colors and skins, could be opened up. With mobile editing also being a focus area, we thought it made sense to have a mobile site that works well for the community and has the community’s theme. Not to mention this is one of our most-requested features and we’re excited to be able to deliver this within the mobile updates.
With these additions, we want to help you bring your wikis identity to life by giving you the ability to add themes to your mobile skin. That will include supporting light and dark themes like on the desktop, and an easy-to-use interface that gives customization options to admins of all skillsets.
Here’s Where You Come In
With all of the improvements coming to the platform, we’ll need your help throughout the development process. We held breakout sessions at Community Connect to get user sentiment and got some great feedback from attendees. Now, we encourage you to keep an eye out for these features and share your feedback with us! If you have ideas, don’t hesitate to hit us up on Discord, message Customer Support with your ideas, and leave comments below!
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