Wikia Labs, a new feature introduced by Wikia last week, was one of the most exciting features I designed during my time with the company. If you’re familiar with Gmail Labs you’ll understand how it works. Users (specifically admins) on Wikia can turn features on and off - the set consists of Top Ten Lists, Gallery Exhibitions, and Article Comments. This new ability gives administrators a greater level of control over their own wiki. Additional it provides a limited environment for Wikia to launch new features and gather feedback from users. For Wikia’s devoted user base, change can often be scary and invoke a backlash from the most passionate users comfortable with infrastructure currently in place. Wikia Labs serves as a bridge to acclimate users to new tools and gather feedback to ensure the the company is delivering features that are needed and wanted by the community.
Well worth the read whether your a designer or in a position where your providing the feedback. It just might save your next project from looking like a mullet.
“John in marketing wants to be able to log in directly on the home page, but Tim in Engineering would prefer it on its own page. Can we compromise?”
No. We cannot compromise.
If you tell your barber that you like it short, but your significant other likes it long, you’re gonna get a mullet.
Earlier this year the team at Wikia started down the path to redesign their product - a popular wiki hosting platform. Over the summer they brought me on the project as an interaction and visual designer. And just last month we let the redesign loose to a passionate community of select users. Our redesign effort concentrated on making the experience of using a wiki, where a community of users contribute the content, easier. It’s still too early to judge if we accomplished our goal of attracting a larger audience, helping them discover content, and engaging them as editors. However, after a couple weeks, the reactions that we are getting from users are encouraging and we’re excited to continue improving the site.
This bit of work began as a postcard and made its way into a banner hanging from the San Francisco Ferry Building on the occasion of Wikia’s Food & Tech event. The logo was a piece of work we put together for the Healthy Recipes team at Wikia a few weeks ago. The event, which took place on Sunday October 10th, saw a handful of local chefs serving up their culinary delights and an esteemed panel discussing technology’s role in shaping the food we eat. It always puts a smile on my face to see my work placed in the context of tangible moments like these.