Posted: 6th September 2010

Last updated: 26th April 2011

Wikia's Look is Changing

In case anyone is unaware, Wikia is overhauling its look over the next month or so and it will be a big overhaul that will affect both the appearance and how things are done here. The change is compulsory for all wikis because it is not simply a new skin option, it’s going to be an upgraded version of Wikia (the wikia system's software is going from mediawiki 1.15 to 1.16.1, which is apparently a bigger deal than it sounds like). Wikia does not want to waste resources working on an outdated version of the software, hence the update being mandatory.

For help with the new layout, check the Transition guide, New Look Help files and FAQ. There is also a list of relevant staff posts at the bottom which will be updated regularly.

Discontinued features

  • The widget dashboard and all widgets were discontinued as they were deemed to be underused.
  • "Report a Problem" links were discontinued with the new skin as they were not used as intended.
  • "Email a user" link is gone.
  • Page ratings are gone.

New features

  • New, customizable toolbar that is anchored at bottom of screen.
  • New tool for customizing the colour scheme/theme, including default themes. This is for admins only, but anyone can experiment with it at this link.
  • New Layout Designer - details at this link. Help page.

Other changes

  • Site notice is no longer on every page. It is now located in the Community Corner and users will receive a notification bubble each time it is updated.
  • The wiki navigation is moving from the left sidebar to the top of the screen. It will have 4 drop down menus, with 7 links each (32 total). This is substantially less than we currently have.
  • The name of the user who uploaded a picture will be listed underneath the image caption on articles. We got rid of this feature.
  • My Home becomes Wiki Activity and contains a link to Recent Changes.
  • There is a new sidebar area on the right, where the recent activity and other "modules" sit. Wikia are looking at putting infoboxes and other page content into modules in the sidebar. More "modules" are being developed for it, with ideas from both the staff and community being considered for future additions.
  • Moved the most recent editor’s name from the bottom of the page to the top, added an avatar, and a new mini-history dropdown menu, which contains the link to the full history.
  • Two of the categories are listed at top as well the full list at the bottom. The two chosen will be the categories containing the most pages. There is a blacklist to keep out typical maintenance categories, but it is not wiki specific (atm).
  • Wiki logo is replaced with "Wordmark", which admins can customized by adjusting the text & color, or by uploading an image in the theme designer.
  • Ad box formerly in article/content space moved to sidebar.

Beta Testing

Wikia has finished conducting both public and closed beta testing for the New Look. However, there is still ongoing testing in the form of monitoring usage of features as well as A/B Testing of the New Look. There is also a new Layout Builder being tested at present. Please report any problems or comments regarding this via Special:Contact.

But I don't like it sir...

You're not alone there. But there is little that can be done about it, so you will just have to get used to it for now. We have managed to get rid of image attribution. About all that you can change is the background/text colour, which you can do by adding the code I posted in the Forum:New Theme Issues to you personal .css file (instructions are in the forum too, just scroll down a bit). But everything else we have to live with.

Handy References

I'll update this as more is revealed. Comments on the new look are welcome & encouraged, but please keep them on topic and civil. I'll address any questions that I can, but I don't know everything, so sorry if I can't give you any answers.


  • April - The bar underneath the page title ("Edited by ..." & "Read more:") will be removed this week. History becomes part of the edit button drop-down. Also, the "Log Out" link moves into the drop-down menu under your username at the top-right of every page.
  • February - Toolbar update is out Wednesday 2nd February. Buttons renamed - "Move" becomes "Rename", "Save" becomes "Publish".
  • January - switch to MediaWiki 1.16.1 is being made and Layout Builder is now being tested.
  • December - announced that the My Tools bar will become much more customizable (see here) and there are new guidelines for what can and cannot be done with the look in CSS.
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