Global nav-new

Greetings, Wikians. My name is Chris, aka Rupert Giles, and I’m a Product Manager at Wikia. I’ve previously written about global navigation, and I’m here to talk about our plans for a full rollout of this new design that’s happening tomorrow, December 3.

We received some pretty clear feedback based on the last post, and we are currently running a site-wide experiment exploring options to address the issues that were raised. In short -- the size of the navigation, its fixed placement, and its Wikia branding was contributing to the sense that it was dominating the content, especially on darker colored communities.

This experiment will have three versions of the navigation - version 1 is the new global nav exactly as we previously launched it, version 2 will have the nav scroll away with the rest of content but return as soon as the user starts to scroll back up, and version 3 will scroll away and only reappear when the user gets back to the top. We completely understand that having a fixed, Wikia-branded element on the page can be a distraction. Our hope is that the nav can achieve the same goals without being fixed on the page.

In order to get the best data possible, we’ve pushed the global navigation update site-wide and will be closely monitoring all metrics throughout December. At a high level, we are tracking total searches and total page views per user. But we’re specifically looking at how each of these metrics move within user segments. There are three fairly distinct groups of users that visit Wikia and each group is segmented by the amount of times they visit Wikia - users that visit once per month, users that visit once per day, and users in between the two. Our aim from the start is to maintain performance in the most active group while significantly increasing engagement amongst the other groups. The previous beta showed great progress in the lower engagement segments and we’re looking to see if that holds up with a larger audience.

And finally, as part of the rollout we have fixed a few important bugs from the nav beta. As before, though, please feel free to note any issues that pop up by commenting on this blog or through Special:Contact, and we will do our best to deal with them in a timely manner. Our intention is to re-evaluate the nav performance and the experiment results in January and make any necessary adjustments to deliver the best possible experience to all Wikia fans.

Please note: Any and all changes to global navigation should be confined to personal CSS/JS.

Update (Dec 15): Thanks for all of your feedback about the new navigation design. As we've mentioned before, we're currently exploring different behaviors for the navigation based on what we heard from you during the beta phase, and those tests are running now and will go into next year. We're also working on some other changes in response to your feedback, and look forward to sharing that with you after the holidays. Please know that each and every one of the community's responses and suggestions are heard, and they are a big part of the decision process.

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