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.
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:
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.
During the last month, the help panel was deployed on Vietnamese Wikipedia, adding it to Czech and Korean Wikipedias.
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 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.