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Principles of Wiki pages design
I don’t have a specific design in mind, but I would like to suggest some principles that the design should be based upon. How can we design the page without defining what the wiki is, or should be?

1. It seems that here-to-for the emphasis has been to get the wiki up and running; building the pages and recruiting and teaching people to author those pages. And an admirable job has been done. This is reflected in the organization of the main page. The emphasis must now be on steering patrons to those pages; helping them see “how to use the wiki to research”. Our organization must reflect that.

2. The wiki is being used mostly by mature genealogists. We want to appeal to beginning researchers–to try to bring them into the wiki. But we must not emphasize beginning research to the point that we give the impression to mature researchers that we are not for them as well.

3. Personal help is one of the biggest assets of FamilySearch. We should keep this in mind as we show how the wiki helps patrons of all capacities to research their families. As we do so, the wiki will be recognized as an indispensable tool to all patrons.

4. The home page cannot be all things to all people. We should not try to put everything on the main page. Rather the main page should be an introduction to 4 sub-pages, each of which is a portal into specific aspects of the wiki. Each of these subareas should have a one word description, with a brief description of its content:

a. Research1; Beginning family history lessons, tips, and search strategies
b. Research2; Intermediate & Advanced family history tips and tricks
c. Share; Write new, or edit existing articles; or help maintain the wiki
d. Connect: Join with our community that loves family history.

5. Some have suggested that we have individual skins for various groups of people. Wouldn’t the concept of individual portals (after the main page) serve that function? It seems we are trying to make the main page accomplish too much

6. From a minimalist point of view, the above could be incorporated as follows. I am not advocating this, but just presenting how the above could be incorporated into the pesent without major changes:

a. Main Wiki Page–leave pretty much as is, except (from top down)
1. Increase the size of the terms at the top of the page (earn, FamSearch, etc) an put them in a different color do as to make it more obvious they are drop down menues
2. Decrease the font size of “Free family history research advice for the community, by the community”
3. Decrease the search box to 40% of the present size, by eliminating “Browse by Country” and moving “List all countries” up and to the right so that it is in the purple to the right of the magnifying glass.
4. Keep the Tour, Write, and Connect boxes about the same size, but replace the syntax in them with the items in 1a-1c above.
5. The 4th main entry area (Connect) could be in a long narrow box under the Research1, Research2, and Share boxes.
6. Leave the rest of the page as is.
b. Again, I am not advocating the above, rather just illustrating how the principles could be applied.

7. Pictures should be used to supplement the material on a page–not to dominate the material. Unless the picture evokes the topic of the page, I would prefer them to be smaller. For example, the 3 pictures on the main page (Featured WikiProject, Featured How-to’s and Help, and Featured Article) and on the Community Center are just window dressing.
In contrast, most of the pictures on the wikiHow main page convey the subject–a dog, a pregnate lady, cookies, a stressed younger person and a “wise mom”.

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