Hi folks,

Here's a quick update about the Notifications tool, which has kept us very busy since we released it on the English Wikipedia a couple weeks ago.

1. New version
Today, we deployed a new version on the English Wikipedia, which includes a number of bug fixes and couple new features, outlined below.

Try it out for yourself (1), and let us know if you have any comments or questions. If you come across any bugs, please post them on Bugzilla (2).
2. New message indicator
The most important new feature in today's release is a new message indicator which now appears next to the red notifications badge when people post on your talk page (3). It is intended to make you aware of new messages -- not just ephemeral notifications -- as well as provide a secondary visual cue in case you miss the red badge. 

We affectionately call it the 'Orange Bar of Love' (OBOL), because it was developed collaboratively with community members -- as an alternative to the larger 'Orange Bar of Doom' (OBOD) that was used before. The OBOD provided a similar function, but in a more disruptive way that didn't conform with modern web design conventions, by placing it inside the article content area rather than near the user menu where such notifications are usually placed. 

3. Community discussion
We spent much of last week discussing community concerns about the removal of the OBOD, as well as designing new message indicator and building prototypes to address these concerns. We reviewed a half-dozen options with a large group on a special discussion page (4), then tested special gadgets with a smaller group on IRC (5), leading to a resolution in favor of the OBOL. 

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all community members who joined this discussion -- especially Edokter and Ignatz, who made some invaluable contributions to move this project forward, along with Kaldari and Vibha.

4. Metrics
We are now collecting a first set of metrics to track the number of notification events on the English Wikipedia, as shown on our metrics dashboard (6). Here's a brief overview: about 166k notifications were triggered in the two weeks since we deployed on April 30th, or a daily average of about 12k notifications. About 61% of these notifications were for existing users, and 39% for new users. About 40% of total notifications are for welcome and getting started notifications, with 37% for talk page messages; page reviews, page links and user mentions represent about 10% of notifications.

In coming weeks, we expect to provide more metrics for total preferences, impressions and clicks, as outlined in our metrics plan (7), thanks to all the hard work from Dario, Benny and Aaron.

5. Survey
The notifications tool is generally being received favorably by the wider community, as suggested by early results of our user survey (8), which indicate that about 61% of respondents find them useful - versus 17% who do not find notifications useful. This is from about 256 respondents, who are largely active editors (approx. 71% edit once a day). As we engage more new users to take this survey, we expect to hear more from newbies and will report separately on what they tell us.

6. Next steps
We are now focusing on a number of new features and follow up initiatives related to this project, including HTML email notifications, as well as dismiss options, metrics, international, mobile and developer programs, some of which are outlined in our updated slides (9). More on this later.

Many thanks again to everyone who made this project possible!

All the best,

Fabrice and the E2 Team

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Notifications

(2) https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/enter_bug.cgi?product=MediaWiki%20extensions&component=Echo

(3) http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Echo/Feature_requirements#Message_indicator

(4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notifications/New_message_indicator

(5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Notifications#IRC_chat_update

(6) http://toolserver.org/~dartar/en/echo/

(7) http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Echo/Metrics

(8) https://www.surveymonkey.com/sr.aspx?sm=ueWEEs67tUBV8kYmp6H_2fpHk1WbzYvhskE0XblPMY_2bqU_3d

(9) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Notifications-Slides-05-10-2013.pdf


Fabrice Florin
Product Manager, Editor Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation