Reading/Web/Desktop Improvements/Features/Header

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As a part of the Desktop Improvements project, we are introducing a new header.

  1. The first iteration of this header includes a reconfigured logo, of a smaller size (however the wordmark and tagline remain the same size as they are currently in the Vector skin).
  2. Later on, we will explore making this header “sticky” - i.e. accessible when a user scrolls down the page. This will allow readers and editors to access important functionality such as editing the full page or viewing the talk and history pages, without requiring them to scroll all the way up the page.

Release plan[edit]

We began deploying the first iteration in May 2020 to Office Wiki and Test Wiki, and plan to continue to our early adopter wikis in following months. See our main Features page for more details.

Feature description and requirements[edit]

The first iteration of the header consists of the new logo. The reconfiguration of the logo will allow us to provide future functionality such as the sticky header mentioned above, as well as easy access to the collapsible sidebar.

The approach we took was to separate the logo into three components - the logo itself, the wordmark (the stylized name of the wiki), and the tagline (the text that site beneath the logo, for example “the free encyclopedia” for Wikipedia). This allows increased flexibility when defining logos both for this project, as well as for future WMF and community initiatives.

Visually, the logos will appear in a horizontal layout, with the logo to the left, and the wordmark and tagline immediately to the right of it (see mockup below).

Design requirements and guidelines[edit]

The current design will feature the logo in a different configuration, as can be seen below:

We will also be publishing detailed logo creation guidelines soon. 

Constraints[edit]

The new header and logo setup introduces different constraints than were seen before. In particular:

  • The new logos will be image tags. This means that caching will need to be taken into account when changing any logos - i.e. the updated logos might take a few days to propagate throughout a wiki.
  • The new logos will be served as SVGs. No PNG fallbacks will be available. This means that for browsers that do not have Javascrips, the logos will be displayed as text only.

User testing[edit]

We performed prototype testing with editors on a variety of wikis. This test included the new version of the header. The majority of users reported positive to neutral experiences to the new header and logo configuration. However, about 18 of the 226 editors tested (about 8%) expressed concerns with the size of the logo. The main concern stated was that the new configuration of the logo would not be as prominent and memorable as the current configuration. We share some of these concerns and will continue gathering feedback once the change is live on some of the production wikis.

We also believe that any effect this might have will be lessened once a persistent (sticky) header is introduced. Our current plan for the persistent header is to include the full or partial version of the logo throughout the reading experience, in addition to access to other functionality.

That said, we have explored other ways of making the logo more prominent - including centering it in the middle of the header, as can be seen in this prototype. Based on the feedback received from the test wikis, we will determine whether this is a direction we want explore more in the future:

Prototype of header and table of contents for an improved desktop interface for Mediawiki projects

Quantitative testing[edit]

As the current header changes are visual-only, we will not be performing any direct quantitative testing for this change. However, we will be monitoring important metrics such as account creation and pageview to note any overall effects.