Welcome to the seventh 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.
Newcomer homepage release this week
The main feature that the team has been working on over the last month is the newcomer homepage. This feature gives newcomers a place on the wiki to get oriented, learn about editing, and see their impact (see the accompanying screenshot from Test Wikipedia). We intend to release this feature to Czech, Korean, and Vietnamese Wikipedias on May 2nd.
Like the other Growth team features, this will be deployed in a controlled experiment, in which half of newcomers will have access to their homepage and half will not. Users with the feature will be able to access it by clicking their username at the top of their browser, and it will only be available on desktop -- not mobile. Experienced users who want to see their homepage will be able to turn it on in their preferences.
Wikis receiving the newcomer homepage can expect these things:
Additional questions will come to the help desk from the "help module" on the homepage.
Mentors who have signed up for the "mentorship module" will start to receive questions on their user talk pages.
More users may create and edit user pages through the "start module".
Recent and future homepage development
The most important piece developed for the homepage over the last month is the "start module", which gives newcomers clear actions to take when they are new: add/confirm their email, go through a tutorial, start their user page. We learned about the need for this module from user tests last month. The next priorities for the newcomer homepage are:
Mobile design: to work well in mobile browsers, the homepage needs a separate design and engineering. See the accompanying mockups for potential mobile designs.
Features for discovery: only about 15% - 30% of newcomers will discover their homepage by clicking their username at the top of their browser. We are going to be designing additional ways for newcomers to find out about it.
Additional modules: the initial version contains some of the simpler modules. Potential upcoming modules include task recommendations and a feed of activity on the wiki.
Help panel leading indicators: our team published data on the help panel's initial performance. The evaluation exposes some areas for improvement, but we think the help panel's behavior so far is healthy and that it is not having a negative impact on the wikis. We will be publishing additional data, making plans, and asking for community thoughts around the future of the help panel over the course of the next two weeks. If you are interested in trying out the help panel on your wiki, please let us know on our team's talk page.
Long term plans: the team had a week of planning meetings, in which we talked about some longer-term ideas for Growth work. Some of the top ideas are: to extend the newcomer homepage to help user's build their identity through a user profile, and to revisit the "engagement emails" project that the team put on hold. Over the next month, we will be asking for community conversation around how the team can spend our time in the next fiscal year, that starts in July.