Desktop improvements – A request for feedback

The Readers Web team at the WMF will work on some improvements to the desktop interface over the next couple of years. The goal is to increase usability without removing any functionality. We have been inspired by changes made by volunteers, but that currently only exist as local gadgets and user scripts, prototypes, and volunteer-led skins. We would like to begin the process of bringing some of these changes into the default experience on all Wikimedia projects.

We are currently in the research stage of this project and are looking for ideas for improvements, as well as feedback on our current ideas and mockups. So far, we have performed interviews with community members at Wikimania, and collected feedback in a workshop session and via a poster (see below). We have gathered lists of previous volunteer and WMF work in this area. We are examining possible technical approaches for such changes.

Sticky notes with messages of feedback on a large mockup poster for the Desktop improvements project
Feedback on many ideas was collected at Wikimania. One method of collecting feedback was via sticky-notes on a large poster. CC-BY-SA-4.0

We would like individual feedback on the following:

  • Identifying focus areas for the project we have not yet discovered
  • Expanding the list of existing gadgets and user scripts that are related to providing a better desktop experience for all users. If you can think of some of these from your wiki, please let us know
  • Feedback on the ideas and mockups we have collected so far

We would also like to gather a list of wikis that would be interested in being test wikis for this project – these wikis would be the first to receive the updates once we’re ready to start building.

When giving feedback, please consider the following goals of the project:

  • Make it easier for readers to focus on the content
  • Provide easier access to everyday actions (e.g. search, language switching, editing)
  • Put things in logical and useful places
  • Increase consistency in the interface with other platforms – mobile web and the apps
  • Eliminate clutter
  • Plan for future growth

As well as the following constraints:

  • Not touching the content – no work will be done in terms of styling templates or to the structure of page contents themselves
  • Not removing any functionality – things might move around, but all navigational items and other functionality currently available by default will remain
  • No drastic changes to the layout – we’re taking an evolutionary approach to the changes and want the site to continue feeling familiar to readers and editors

Please give all feedback (in any language) at mw:Talk:Reading/Web/Desktop Improvements or here on Space.

After this round of feedback, we plan on building a prototype of suggested changes based on the feedback we receive. You’ll hear from us again asking for feedback on this prototype.

Thank you!


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