Welcome to the sixth newsletter from the Growth team!
The Growth team's objective is to work on software changes that help retain new contributors in mid-size Wikimedia projects.
Plans for the next three months
The Growth team has been working on features to increase new editor retention for the last seven months. We have made a lot of progress and learned a lot, and we've just finished planning for our next three months. During the next three months, we're going to focus on iterations of the help panel and the newcomer homepage. We have decided not to start the engagement emails project, because we think that we will be able to do better work by improving the projects we have already started. Specifically, these are our team goals:
- Deploy and iterate on newcomer homepage
- Continued iteration on help panel
- Make the help panel available to more wikis
- Add a fourth Wikipedia to our set of target wikis
- Publish in-depth quantitative reporting on the data from this year
- Assemble a report on what our team has learned so far about newcomers
Mockup of potential design for newcomer homepage￼
The newcomer homepage is our current major project. We hope that community members can read over the project page, and comment on its discussion page with any ideas, questions, or concerns. You can see in the accompanying mockup how we are thinking about the homepage.
We have recently decided on the specifications for an initial version that we can deploy and iterate on:
- Shown in the User space
- Desktop only (mobile comes next)
- Four modules
- Help module: help links and ability to ask help desk questions
- Mentorship module: all newcomers assigned a mentor to whom they can ask questions
- Impact module: shows the number of pageviews for pages the newcomer edited
- Account completion module: gives some very simple recommendations of how to get started (add an email, start your user page)
- Layout not yet personalized for each user
We're currently running live user tests on this configuration. Future work will include adapting the homepage for mobile, working on a task recommendation module, and considering how to encourage newcomers to visit their homepage.
Screenshot from Vietnamese Wikipedia showing the help panel open on the Community Portal, including the "search" bar.
During the last month, the help panel was deployed on Vietnamese Wikipedia, adding it to Czech and Korean Wikipedias.
As of 2019-03-14:
- 2,425 newcomers have seen the help panel
- 422 of them have opened it
- 175 have clicked links
- 27 have run searches
- 40 have asked questions
We have been analyzing the data around usage, and we'll be publishing numbers in the coming weeks. At a high level, we see at least some users are being helped by the panel, with many clicking on links, running searches, and asking questions. We do not yet see any problems that have arisen from the help panel. Therefore, we think that the help panel is generally a positive feature – though data is still coming that will allow us to see its numerical impact. If other wikis are interested in using the help panel, please contact us on our team's talk page, in the language of your choice.
Over the past month, we have iterated on the help panel to take into account the usage patterns we are seeing. You can see in the accompanying image how the help panel currently looks.
- We added a search capability, in which users can search the Help and Wikipedia namespaces.
- The help panel was previously available whenever a newcomer was in "edit" mode. We are now also showing the help panel when a newcomer is in "read" mode on a page in the Help, Wikipedia, or User namespaces.
We want to see whether users find the "search" useful. If so, we may spend time on improving search results. We're also looking forward to learning whether exposing the help panel in "read" mode in more namespaces will increase usage.
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