So I've recently been promoted to admin :-) and I'd be really interested in going through with some of your ideas for the wiki. I'm no designer so please tell me if anything I'm requesting is impossible/really hard to do or even if it could negatively impact our SEO! Note for the other admins: please give any opinions/suggestions on this - this is something all of us should talk about.
There's a variety of different things I think we need to work on, some a lot more important than others and I know you have quite a few ideas for the wiki too so if there's anything I haven't thought about, feel free to tell me!
I have a few concerns for the main page on the wiki at the moment:
It doesn't link to the most important articles on the wiki
I think it doesn't look as good for logged-out users (the ad on the right pushes down the right column meaning it goes way further down than the left column)
As you mentioned, it doesn't include much about the TV series/books (I've just added the latest trailer to the slideshow as you suggested).
I read the Best Practices blog on main pages a few days ago and I think we need to change the home page based on what that blog said. Some things that (possibly) need to be changed/added:
A thumbnail gallery to all the important characters/locations/species is a must, especially with the complexities of the HDM universe, viewers from the TV series will want to know about things like Dust, dæmons and the Magisterium (which aren't linked from the navigation at the moment - it's a wonder that dæmon was our 3rd most popular page a few weeks ago!). We'll also need to add content related to the upcoming book (without using a tabber on the thumbnail gallery, according to the blog).
The introduction to the main page probably wants to say a bit more about the TV series. The blog seemed to say that we should remove the 'Welcome to His Dark Materials Wiki' image and replace it with text, right?
The blog also advised against the use of slideshows. I definitely want the trailer and the book cover to feature on the home page - is there a better way to do this than the slideshow?
I really like the home page for the SAW Wiki and I think a few elements from that could definitely be included. There's also a really nice navigation on the home page of the French GOT Wiki (template) - is this something that could work or would it be unwise to include it?
The mobile main page could probably also do with an update, although I'm not entirely sure what I can do about that...I'd love to hear any suggestions on all of these and also any of your own ideas, it's important that we improve the main page soon!
It would be interesting to see what you think could be done to improve the infoboxes - is it the style and design of them or the actual content? Another thing I've thought about is adding the actors/voice actors for the characters in the film and TV series to the bottom of the infobox although I'd like to know your thoughts as to whether that's something that we should do (considering that all the other information in the article is from an "in-universe" perspective).
Another one that needs a few changes...there are a load more important articles that need to feature on there. I'm not sure if it would be best to group these things by content (have a dropdown for things to do with the new book and another for the TV series) or something like what we have already. I think the community part of the navigation is something that would be nice to stay (although moved back to the last dropdown). I'll be able to make the actual navigation (or provide all the pages that I'd like on it) once we decide on what would actually be best.
I'd love to know your ideas on improvements on the theme (the SAW and Scream Queen Wikis are my favourites and I think those would look brilliant on this wiki) - I don't know whether you'd want more images for the theme: we could change it once the first series has aired if that'll give you more options (and then perhaps update it next year with new images)!
The current wordmark was uploaded just over a year ago and follows the text of the companion book covers. I'd love one that follows the style that is seen on the TV series in the trailers and on their Twitter account but I don't know if that's a custom job. I think the lettering of the new trilogy covers is strong too. I'm not sure how this would look on the theme you have in mind but I'd love to try it out!
Sorry for the lengthy post (that's the reason I collapsed most of it :P) and I've love to hear any more of your suggestions. I think it would be wise to use a test wiki to take a look at the improvements (once all of us are happy with the ideas) so that we can update everything in one go (rather than having a wordmark that works with the theme we're planning on implementing stuck on this current theme) - I believe you can close wikis so I hope that isn't going to be a hassle.
P.S. About the spotlight that I mentioned last time, staff actually already had the wiki under the TV category (though they were using an image from the film), I've sorted that out now - thanks!
Yay, congrats! It's about time tbh haha. We pretty much already agreed on everything in our previous discussions so it looks like we are on the same page with everything that needs to be improved and I'm glad I can finally work on it now :) But please keep in mind that this is a LOT of work and cannot be done overnight. I mean I basically have to redesign the entire wiki, so all I ask is for your patience and trust during the process.
Just to give you some insight on the way that I work - I'm a designer moreso than a writer, so it is a lot easier for me to show you my ideas on a test wiki as opposed to typing out long paragraphs trying to explain what I mean. So if it's cool with you, I would ideally like to open a test wiki, work on everything there, and you and the other admins can give me feedback as necessary until we come up with a theme that we're all happy with. I also work on everything in the reverse order that you mentioned bc everything sort of builds off of each other and it's necessary for my creative process.
So for the wordmark, I'd like to use the TV series logo. I think it looks hella cool and yes, it will be a custom job, but I can do that for you. Not a problem. Next, I would like to create a new background. Personally I think it would be most appealing to use the main characters from the TV series. Style wise, I think it would be cool to do something similar to the BBC trailer thumbnails with the glowing orange dividers. Also I'd like to use teal as the main wiki color, and teal & orange are complimentary colors and look incredible together. Like I said before, it's hard for me to fully explain to you what my exact vision is, but you'll see what I mean when I show you. If there's anything you don't like, it can easily be changed.
For infoboxes, I'd mostly like to improve the design since the default Europa theme is kinda clunky and boring. Again, something that is easier for me to show you than explain. But yes it is definitely wise and helpful to include the actors on the bottom of the infoboxes for the film/TV characters. I was actually going to mention that to you, so I'm glad it's something you've already considered.
As far as the nav goes, you are obviously more knowledgeable than me as to what's most important in the franchise, so I agree that it should be done by you. The current nav is very convoluted and right now the TV series is way too hidden, even though it should be at the forefront. My best suggestion is to have a dropdown for the books and a separate dropdown for the TV series. That will be most helpful to readers. I suggest taking inspiration from Harry Potter Wiki. As mentioned previously, you can certainly keep the community section. I have it on all of my wikis, but it just needs to be put last.
Lastly comes the home page, and I have the exact same concerns as you. Right now it does not follow best practices and the entire thing needs to be redesigned imo. The slider needs to go. The trailer can be moved to a featured video section and the new book cover will be shown in the books thumbnail gallery that I will create. It's also important that a character gallery is added to the home page as well, since that's what most people come looking for. It is less important for locations and species to be featured, as those should go in the nav, and Fandom is trying to take a "simpler is better" approach with main pages now, since those are proven to be the most successful. I will of course add more info about the TV series in the introduction, and yes any images of text as opposed to actual text are not recommended. That GOT Wiki template is also a no-go. Anything tab-like where links are hidden by a click should be totally avoided. A news feed will definitely be added as well. I understand you like the Saw Wiki main page, but it currently does not follow best practices so I have to redo the entire thing this week. Most main pages I do these days all follow the structure highly suggested by Fandom that was made by Shawn (he's the design god). If you want, you can view a few examples of it that I made: Power Wiki • John Wicki • Arcadia Oaks-pedia. That's the general structure I'd like to follow when making a main page here, since it is the most modern and successful. Let me know what you think.
Thanks so much! Certain aspects have been wanting a redesign since I arrived so I'm glad that I can be a (very small) part in fixing it up. And yes, I was thinking that as I was writing it (well, I say thinking, I was watching Stranger Things S1 for the first time so my mind was in other, spookier places...) - please take as long as it needs - you've got a lot of wikis to check up on and I doubt HDM is the largest xD.
Yes, definitely open a test wiki (I'll ping the admins when it's up, inviting them to give feedback there). Would it be possible to give the admins here admin rights there (until it's deleted) so we can import a few articles to see how they look, maybe, see how the admin dashboard looks (and also experiment with the navigation)! Feel free to work how you normally do - really, that list was a list of things that came to my mind in that order (handily in alphabetical order lol).
Can't wait to see you work your magic on the theme and infoboxes! I really want to see what you can do with it before I give any feedback so feel free to do whatever you want with that - you know best!
As for the nav, that's probably the best way forward (especially as the main character helpfully switches names halfway through the books) - I'll see what I can do!
As for the main page; those wikis looks great, have a neat design, I'd love to see what you can do to make it work for our wiki!
Please give me the link to the test wiki when you create it and I'll get it to the other admins asap. One quick question: where will we be giving the feedback? I assume you've used test wikis before, would a Discussions post/wiki-style forum/Message Wall thread on the test wiki work? Thanks!
I like what you've done with the navigation (and the ideas for the new wiki design!) but would like to suggest that the community section goes under 'explore' rather than 'HDM franchise'. I think it is more intuitive that way. Else, depending on whether the bar looks crowded or not, could it be put on the end next to discuss?
Nice idea...it was hard to fit all of it in (I'm sure you'll agree that it was really important that we have things like the Magisterium and other locations on the nav). I was thinking that the community section didn't look right under the HDM franchise part, I did make a draft for the nav on my sandbox (see the first one) where the community section is on its own...unfortunately this meant combining both the characters and the locations which meant I missed out quite a lot and it didn't look very good - you can only have 4 different first level dropdowns so I couldn't add it to the end, either. I think it's more important that our readers (which make up 99.95% of the people visiting our wiki) get all those links rather than us 5 admins having a few links to various areas of the community.
As for the 'explore' dropdown: it's not editable, which means I couldn't add it there. Staff suggest that links for the community be in the 'messages from the community' list over at Special:Community (and that's what I've done). If you think it would be better to have it on its own and bunch together the characters and multiverse dropdowns - let me know!
Thanks for the reply! In that case, I agree that it is more important to keep as many relevant links as possible for our readers. How would you feel about putting the policy navbox at the bottom of the main page as an alternative to having the community dropdrown? I suppose that partly depends on whether it jars with the new design ideas.
The nav looks SO much better NightSpeakers - you did a great job. I mean I could put the policy navbox on the main page if you really want it, but it has been proven that nobody really clicks on policy links from the home page, or navboxes in general, so it's kinda useless. and will def clash with the new design.
To answer the previous questions, yes I will give all the admins here rights on the test wiki if that's what you'd like. and you guys can give feedback wherever you want, but yeah a discussions or message wall thread on the test wiki is prob easiest. I will most likely be starting on the test wiki this week if nothing else of priority comes up.
I can't give any exact dates because things can come up and affect it. Like I said before, all I request is your patience. I promise everything will be all set in time for the show release. I just have other releases coming up before HDM that take priority, so I apologize for not being able to do everything sooner, but I'm doing the best I can.
Yes, of course, that's fine! I probably should have mentioned in that reply, but I'll probably change a few things on the main page coming up to the book release and just wanted to make sure any work I put in isn't changed a few days later! Thanks for the quick response!
Again, I'm so incredibly sorry for not being able to get this to you sooner, but here is the start of the test wiki. I've given all the admins rights on there as you requested. Let me know your thoughts. Obvi the main page isn't done yet but I know you spoke with Ariana about it and I might end up having her work on that if I don't have enough time.
Yay, I'm so happy you like it! Fingers crossed the other admins love it too. I worked super hard to make it perfect haha that's partially why it took so long. Hopefully we'll be able to implement it before Nov 3.
There's also one other thing I'd like to bring up - several people on the TV/Movies team have agreed that the url for this wiki is a bit impractical and overall detrimental to SEO, which makes the wiki harder to find. I suggest changing it to hisdarkmaterials.fandom.com, with hdm.fandom.com as a redirect. Let me know what you think about that and I can have staff make the change asap.
:) Just one quick concern, perhaps you did it on purpose, is that the background doesn't work as well (for me, at least) on Discussions. It seems that the two colums hide behind the white boxes on the sides and leave a gap in the middle! Is there anything you can do to fix that?
As for the URL, I'll definitely need to talk to the others about it although I have thought that someone might bring this up...do you know if it will be a majorly impact the SEO or is it a slight minor change? I don't see a huge problem with changing it but I'll message the others and get back to you!
Going on with SEO, it's annoyed me for a while that when searching 'Lyra Silvertongue', the Wikipedia article appears before ours even though it's extremely shorter with far less images (but, of course, it's Wikipedia and there are a gazillion links from other sites to the article...). Would changing the URL help overtake WP or is there anything else that might help us come first on the list? Thanks!
Unfortunately, any bg that uses 2 columns with multiple photos is going to leave a gap in the middle and look weird in Discussions. There's really no way around that. My hope is that someday Fandom will allow us to upload a separate bg for Discussions, but until then, this is the best I could do. For me, it's way more important for the bg to look good on the main wiki, but I totally understand your concern, and I'm sorry that I can't offer a better solution for you.
The URL change will definitely have a big impact on SEO and just overall make the wiki easier to find. Some of my co-workers had to ask me for the URL because they didn't know what it was, and that should never happen. The URL is THE most important when it comes to SEO and it should be the most obvious thing about a wiki. So def speak with the other admins about it and let me know if they're cool with the change.
I can't say for certain whether the new URL will help overtake Wikipedia or not because so many factors go into search results and obviously Wikipedia is a giant when it comes to site traffic. But I can confirm that a new main page and the URL change are major steps in the right direction to become first in the results.
Hi Idekmandy, I've been looking at the test wiki and it looks amazing! My only concern there is how red links look on the dark background of the pages (they're actually quite hard to read in my opinion). This isn't necessarily a deal breaker, but I was wondering if maybe the pages themselves could have a slightly lighter blue background? I feel like it won't look any good if we do, but Idk how else to make the red links more readable.. but also, the wordmark and background images look amazing! I'm completely okay with implementing those image changes straight away.
Glad you like the design! The easiest solution in this case is to simply change the color of the red links lol. Idk what color you'd be comfortable with since the default color isn't that difficult to read imo. But I changed them to a lighter red on the test wiki.
Okay yeah that makes more sense! It's much more readable as that lighter color to me. Ofc I'd like to hear NightSpeakers' opinion on the color (we can switch it back if you both agree the old one was better). Other than that it looks great!
Yeah - the new colour is much better :) So are the TOC and the editing text for each section! One small thing that you might be able to fix: on normal pages on the dropdown underneath the edit button, the link to the discussion page (if it's not created) turns that red colour too - is it at all possible to change that back to white? Although the red could potentially be a good thing...
Can you also reccommend a colour for the bg of the Conjecture template (and for most of the templates we currently use)? I changed #A6BFC4 to the colour of the links (#d8bc87) but the word 'canonical' will blend into the bg once we transfer it onto the main wiki.
I'm definitely happy to transfer the bg & wordmark (and the URL) but perhaps wait until the TV series airs/at least another admin supports it.
It's unfortunately not possible for me to change that text back to white but personally I don't think it's a bad thing.
For the templates, you could use the same color scheme that I used for the TOC, or if you want to keep the current scheme, you could always just change the color of each link in the templates using <span style>. It's up to you which one you'd prefer and of course I could help with either one.
And that's great, I will have staff change the URL shortly! :)