A great new look for Wikispaces

Before the New Year, we announced a change to the Wikispaces interface. Today we released that change system-wide.

In our popular Tatami theme, the changes will look like this (click on each thumbnail to see a larger version):

Most of you don’t need to do anything to enjoy this updated and upgraded interface. But if you have a heavily modified custom theme, especially one that made changes to the tabs, you may find that it is no longer working the way you expect. If you run into any trouble, send us an email at help@wikispaces.com.

Along with the interface upgrade, we’ve also released a new premade theme called Moderna. This theme was specially designed to make Wikispaces easier to use than ever. We hope you like it!

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21 Comments

  1. Posted January 15, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    @Andy We chose a design we thought would be a good balance between icons and long text descriptions such as “discussion”. We’ve gotten clear feedback that our choice is confusing to some of our users.

    Please bear in mind that we’re a small team of human beings that work incredibly hard to bring Wikispaces to millions of people. We can’t claim we’re perfect, but we certainly would take offense at being called stupid.

  2. Posted January 16, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    @James, I just want to say that all of you at WS that you do a great job, and you have a wonderfully useful site. Thank you. We users probably all want slightly different things, and it’s probably impossible not to tread on some toes whenever you make such changes. What I’ve done is to knuckle down and adjust things to take account of the changes. I’m sure you will listen to the feedback and respond positively, and people will get over having their feathers ruffled!

  3. Posted January 16, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    James…..
    One of the most important things we do at VAMworld is the photographing of the different VAMs.
    Our members are used to increasing the size of the pictures to see the smallest detail.

    Now…the Black Mail Bar comes with increasing the picture also and travels all over the
    picture as we are trying to see the details. THIS IS VERY disconcerting. Is there any way
    of making the MAIL BAR stay in it’s proper place at the upper right hand corner?
    Thanks
    Ron

  4. iShar
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank-you Wikispaces/Tangient team for updating Wikispaces with the Moderna theme, the new user toolbar/dashboard that is similar to the Google user toolbar, and the condensed page actions bar. I used to move my tabs & page name to the bottom of the page to get them out of the way for visitors to the wiki who were not expected to be users. I think it’s also neat how the user toolbar condenses once the user starts scrolling on the page.

    I like the trick to remove the membership message on wikis visited by strangers, by unchecking the box to Allow Membership requests under Permissions on Manage Wiki. However, I am missing the backlink on the those control pages to take me back to Manage Wiki.

    Now that you’ve updated the codebase, it’s probably possible to do some other customizations, like:
    1. Settings Option to not have page name displayed at top of content area.
    In the same place where we decide about the discussion tabs, let’s decide about the page name. Like another commenter, my page names are often shorthand versions of what the page really is about and I often put my own title on the page with Heading 1 style.

    2. Dynamic Page Actions toolbar (Edit, Disc, Comment, History, Options) so that yeah when we scroll on a long document, the toolbar can be collapsed to the side of the main content area similar the user toolbar and it also floats like the floating edit toolbar.

    I’m on the fence as to whether I prefer tabs or a toolbar for the page actions. When I’m using the wiki I like the toolbar, but when I know that others who are new to the wiki are going to be using it, tabs are more straightforward. There are screentips on the toolbar, but if someone does not think to put their mouse over it, they may not figure it out.

    Ahh, maybe the solution is to offer a choice of toolbars. One as it is now and a 2nd which is a vertical control box layout that specifically says Edit, Discussions, Comments, History, More. Or maybe move the page actions to the sidebar with the wiki actions, navigation, and search.

    Anyway, thanks again for continuing to update the service and I’m looking forward to new features that 2012 will bring.

    Cheers – iShar

  5. Andy Hatchett
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    @James

    I guess part of my frustration is because up until now you folks have really done such an outstanding job that I just didn’t expect something of this caliber.

  6. SG
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your comments, James. For me, the changes are not confusing, although some of it is driving my students a bit crazy. It’s just that it is visually unappealing to have the page name and the edit/etc bar stuck into the page itself. The tabs were a classier, more professional look. I do have to say that the little message bars that splash across the top of the page after editing etc., are irritating. Thank goodness I got the “you don’t belong you wanna join” message to go away. LOL.

  7. Posted January 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    All the people are so confused trying to find the discucion tab and it is very weird because they can not find it so please help them. I really need help trying to help them and plus the new kid in my class does not know either do he we need help and plus help to make a wiki and i need to know how to help him because i forgot were the discusion tab was because i forgot how to.

  8. Posted January 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know about the great new look but now
    I just now notice I saw the icons was actually
    made it the great new look.

  9. Posted January 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t notice at first but now I saw the icons and styles, they look really great.

  10. Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I too missed the “Discussion” tab in the new format. Here is a way to get around it. Edit each page, go to the top of the page, set alignment “right”, and type in “To post or view discussion, click to the right of the “Edit button”. You may have to insert some lines between this line and the rest of the page, as the right align feature seems to be unreliable, at least on my computer. I am sure wikispaces will restore the label on the discussion button as it is sorely missed and there is no good workaround. The site is in almost every way a joy to visit and a joy to maintain, so one small bad feature is nothing to get excited about.

  11. Posted January 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Just to give you guys an idea of what it’s like on the front lines. I’m neither for nor against the changes. But I do have a word to say about how the roll-out of the changes affected me and my students. I put my training together over break in December. I then met these students early Saturday morning the 21st so I could train them to use wikispaces in person. And everything was different. I had to give up getting them started on the wikispaces. Today, I spent hours trying to find the discussion tab. I was trying to figure out what I had clicked to make it go away. (Note: I did see the new bar, but couldn’t find the Discuss option. It would have helped if the mouse over said “Discuss” instead of “no discussion posts.”) All the help and tutorials for Wikispaces are for the old interface, so I wasted a lot of time slogging through that scratching my head. Finally, I did a google search to see if anyone else was having the same problems and finally found this blog post that changes were made. If you had sent a site news email, as opposed to a blog posting on a profile page I never look at, it would have helped. Even then, it probably would have had to say “Hey, this is a huge change to the interface we are making without warning — you may need to drop everything and re-do instructions to your members” before it would have grabbed my attention during the first week of classes. That being said, I put my class on Wikispaces for Spring 2012 because, through your grace, it was free for education. I thought it might be worth a try. Now, I gotta re-do the set-up of the wikipages skeleton, edit all my materials plus create some new ones to replace the outdated ones I was pointing students to . . . and I’m allowed only one kick-off meeting, so I’ll have to handle everything via email. I see this as me making a bad decision to go with wikispaces and I’m going to take a half hour off and consider whether I should take the time to identify and go to a plan B.

  12. Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    @Barry — we’re working on a better solution for the join banner. It was not our intent to be this intrusive, but rather to be more obvious for those who wanted open membership in their wikis than a small link buried on the page.

    Note that you can turn it off entirely if you don’t want members requesting to join your wiki. Go to Manage Wiki > Permissions and turn off Allow Membership Requests.

  13. Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    @scioccoballante Thanks for pointing this out. The edit button is not supposed to fall off this screen when the content of the page runs wide. I’ve logged a bug on our side to address this.

  14. Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    @wjhmedia Thanks. You’re absolutely right. We’ll look into the membership request placement/behavior as well as the join banner.

  15. Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    @Rob Which banner is giving you trouble? We’re working on better placement for membership requests and the join message when you’re not a member.

  16. Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    @Ron We’ll look into forcing the global navigation to stay put. Thanks.

  17. Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    @SG Thanks. We are working on refining the join message bar — not our intent to make it quite so in-your-face.

  18. Posted January 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    @iShar Thanks for the detailed comments! A few notes:

    We’re planning a substantial redesign of the Manage Wiki UI. It will eliminate the need for back-links. In some places we’re ahead of ourselves, which is why you’ve found them missing — sorry about that!

    Hiding the page name is something we’ve heard a fair bit. We’re trying to understand if this is something that people will factor into their page creation going forward or if we need to build a switch as you describe.

    Dynamic page actions is a good idea, something Barry alluded to earlier as well.

    We’re thinking hard about how to make the toolbar functions more obvious. Thanks for the suggestions!

  19. Posted January 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    @Christopher Thanks. We aim for a joyful experience from start to finish, no exceptions. We’ll see what we can do about restoring the more obvious nature of the page buttons.

  20. Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Greetings! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. Thank you!

  21. Posted February 15, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    That’s a nicely made answer to a chllaenging question

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